North Bergen, New Jersey, United States
This year the big news about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is about who isn't showing up. Sebastien Loeb, fresh off his record setting run last year, hasn't bothered coming back (and probably won't unless someone breaks his record). The Millen family is also noticeably absent. Rhys and Rod have been driving here for the past couple of decades but it looks like Rhys is focusing his efforts on Global RallyCross.
Last year Pikes Peak added a fourth practice day on Tuesday to allow drivers to get more time on the mountain. It's an optional practice day, but most drivers show up.
Today, both Time Attack divisions (1 and 2) as well as Unlimited division drove the lower third of the mountain. Pikes Peak Open, Open Wheel, Electric Production, Electric Modified, Exhibition and Vintage all practiced on the middle section, and bikes power sports did the top section.
Preparing for next month's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Mitsubishi - the presenting sponsor of this year's PPIHC - has unveiled its entrant for the race: the all-electric MiEV Evolution II. Building off last year's MiEV-inspired entrant, the Evolution II has received numerous improvements, including a more powerful electric drive system, a lower center of gravity and even a more traditional racecar look. Driving a pair of MiEV Evolution II models this year will be Hiroshi Masuoka from Mitsubishi vehicle development and six-time PPIHC motorcycle winner, Greg Tracy.
Both MiEV Evolution II racers employ a quartet of electric motors (last year's car used just three), and output has been increased from 280 kilowatts (375 horsepower) up to 400 KW (536 hp). For improved handling, the cars' lithium-ion battery packs help provide lower centers of gravity, and both Masuoka's and Tracy's cars have received active yaw control, stability control and redesigned anti-lock braking systems. Hopefully, this will help them stick to the mountain better. As previously mentioned, even their look has changed, with less of a wide-body i-MiEV feel and more of a racecar appearance. We think the finished product would actually make for a pretty cool Le Mans Prototype racer, or perhaps an electrically powered rival for trackday cars like those from Radical.
Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Daihatsu have announced an alliance that will see a push to improve fuel economy from both gas-powered and diesel-powered engines by as much as 30 percent before the end of the decade.
The newly assembled Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines put the roughly $20-million project together, with the Japanese government committing to half the cost while the eight manufacturers will chip in the rest.
According to Automotive News, the automakers will team up and share basic research on internal-combustion engines in a bid to cut costs. Eventually, the results of the research will find its way into a production vehicle, although it's unclear just when we'll see the fruits of this partnership on the road.