The Top Pikes Peak Rides
As we told you yesterday, Pikes Peak is no walk in a (national) park. The combination of tenacious curves matched with the lack of just about any guardrail is a recipe for disaster. One must have cajones of adamantium in order to take on this daunting challenge. So what that they paved the road last year- that just levels the playing field. Its still a 12.42 mile race with 156 turns and a 4,700 climb. Not only must you be brazen enough to take on the challenge, but you must also be skilled enough to make it through the stage without rolling off the side, uncontrollably. Even if you muster the manhood and develop the skill to tackle one of the most unique and challenging automotive events in the world, you won't be able to do it alone. You're going to need one hell of a ride. And not just any stripped-down, big-winged special. You are going to need a car that perfectly complements your skills. We have compiled a list of several of the top entrants to ever race at Pikes Peak. Some are, indeed, overall winners, but others are just seriously cool rides. Check them out for yourself. MIKE RYAN FREIGHTLINER CASCADIA:
Mike Ryan does things that are quantifiably more badass than you. He is a 12-time Pikes Peak champ in the Semi division. Yeah, he races tractor-trailer cabs. His most recent ride is a Freightliner Cascadia. This top-heavy badboy packs 1,950 horsepower, and 3,400+ pound feet of torque. His ride runs on a set of hand-made Michelins. Oh yeah, and he has painted it in Gulf Racing livery and taken it drifting before. What more do you want?
MONSTER TAJIMA SUZUKI SX4:
What's most impressive about this record-setting racer is that its a %*^-ing Suzuki. Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima may have originally set a record for the Peak in '07 at the wheel of a mid-engine Suzuki XL7, but it was at the helm of a stupidly powerful SX4 that he bested his own time, and more importantly, broke the seemly inpenetrable 10 minute barrier. This SX4 happens to have 910 horsepower, and a man behind the wheel who has been tearing it up in the rally world since 1968. Monster's success is perhaps the shining example of great car meets great driver.
ROD MILLEN'S RIDES (94 CELICA and 98 TACOMA):
His son Rhys may have a company ride from Hyundai to tackle Pikes Peak, but Rod Millen is a Toyota man all the way. In 1994, he set the record for the fastest ride on Pikes Peak in an all-wheel-drive Toyota Celica. Now, people used to call the Celica a chick car, but try telling that to Millen, who's record at the wheel of said Celica stood for 13 years! It wasn't until our boy Monster eviscerated the record (see above) that his reign concluded.
Not satisfied with dominating in a Toyota coupe, Millen took to the Peak in 1998 at the helm of a heavily modified Toyota Tacoma. This shared very little with an actual Tacoma, and was more of a mid-engined prototype racer. It was a fiberglass body around a tube frame chassis, and powered by a mere 2.1-liter engine that delivered a stupifying 1,000 horsepower!
Like "Monster" Tajima, it seems Millen just likes going fast up a dangerous hill, and doesn't care what his ride is. To that end, Tajima has left the conventionally-powered playing field in favor of an electrified entrant of his own design. The two are kindred spirits of horsepower, danger, and speed. There are many like them, as over one hundred drivers enter in the race every year. Simultaneously, there are few like them- men who can stake the claim "Fastest on the Hill" and their rides were just as important as their indelible skill in their achievements.