Aug 8, 2012 2:39 PM by Jordan Mason
It's a whole new era at the 90th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Loud engines are a thing of the past.
The future is electric cars. And the headliner this year, Hill Climb legend Nabuhiro "Monster" Tajima and his brand new multi-million dollar prototype.
"I'm very happy," said Tajima. "Car is going very well. Everything is going very well. Fantastic. Exciting."
But it's not just the Monster show. A few other Japanese drivers are here with their own electric cars. There are seven electric entries in all-that's the most ever.
Hill Climb veteran Rod Millen held the overall time record for 13 years. He did it with an old fashioned gasoline powered car, but says, he definitely sees a place for the new technology at Pikes Peak.
"It's all about the battery storage and how much energy you can store," said Millen. "This is a perfect race because it's only a ten minute race, so you can store enough energy for that race. So it's perhaps one of the few places you can show off the technology and even develop the technology.
Another positive is that no altitude adjustments are needed for the battery powered motors, as opposed to the internal combustion engine.
Now the question is, with the new cars and the road paved all the way to the top for the first time ever, forget the ten minute barrier. We asked Monster if he can break the nine minute mark.
"No, no," said Monster. "Too fast. I think I can break my world record and now is a nine minutes 51 seconds. I want to break maybe nine minutes, 40 seconds."
"There's a good chance it's going to go down to the low nine minutes times," said Millen.
And expect several drivers, not just ones with electric cars, to be in contention for that top overall time.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is Sunday at 9 a.m.