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Rhys Millen bringing his “Green Monster” back to Pikes Peak

Posted: 11:18 PM, Jun 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-27 21:31:34-04

It demands your attention.

Powerful, sharp, striking and green. Lime, or neon, depending on how you look at it. Matte finish, for sure.

“As my team calls them, avocado green,” said Rhys Millen, multi-time class champ and two-time King of the Mountain. “But I think this thing is pretty damn smart.”

Millen is talking about his 2019 Bentley Continental GT, powered by a turbocharged V12 engine, weighing in around 4,500 pounds – without him sitting behind the wheel – that he plans on taking up for his 26th time at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

“She’s a hefty girl but it’s got the torque to make up for it,” he said.

This car is taking the place of the supercharged Bentley Bentayga SUV Millen took up Pikes Peak last year, breaking the record for production SUV by a full two minutes, clocking at 10:49.902. Millen bested the 2014 mark of 12:35.610 set by Pikes Peak stalwart Paul Dellenbach in a 2014 Range Rover Sport.

Even with the title in his backseat, he’s aiming for faster times and another Time Attack class record.

“One of the advantages we have this year is we have an ‘E’ differential meaning electronic differential, so it changes torque biasing as it goes through the corners,” The native New Zealander said. “Last year was open differentials – using the brakes ABS to make traction control – so the car is more fitted as a sports car, it has to be because we need to go about 30 seconds faster.”

If that sounds like a car you’d like to take for a spin – or even bring home and park it in your driveway – Millen says you’re in luck.

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“Literally the only items that have been removed from the car – as a production car, you can buy off the showroom floor – is some interior items to fit the safety roll cage. Outside of that, it is 100 percent stock.”

Millen’s been Racing to the clouds since 1992 and his legacy is cemented. So why come back? Why try again? What’s left to prove?

“There are new challenges, there are new obstacles and as a driver I constantly have to adapt,” he said. “Sometimes pushing more than I would in a purebred race car, sometimes holding back to complement the balance of what the car will support. So the race and the road remains the same, the challenge of the vehicle is what keeps it alive.”