Assaulting Pikes Peak with absolute speed in mind is a task best left to the extremely talented and marginally insane. Rife with thousands of feet of unprotected drop-offs, sheer cliffs, blind crests and loose surfaces, climbing to the top of the 14,000-foot-plus mountain in under 10 minues has thus far proven impossible, but Rhys Millen Racing and Hyundai plan to do just that, and this is the car they'll attempt it in: the PM580.
Weighing in at just 1,850 pounds but ripping 675 horsepower out of its 4.1-liter turbocharged V-6 engine (based on a stroked version of the Lambda found in the Genesis Coupe), the car is mostly carbon fiber, and sports a Le Mans/prototype-racer style layout. The rear wing is active to generate maximum downforce at all speeds, while the all-wheel drive system scrabbles to put the engine's power to the ground.
An active center differential allows anywhere from 10 to 100 percent of the torque to go up front, allowing the drivetrain to adapt as the course transitions from asphalt to dirt and back several times. Two Quaife differentials at each end help distribute the load across the axles, while a Weismann semi-automatic transmission handles the cogswapping.
A little bit of math tells us that to get up the 12.42-mile course in under 10 minutes, the PM580 will have to average about 74.6 mph--a terrifying pace considering the terrain. Millen is no strange to the 'Peak, however, with a class win in the Genesis Coupe last year already under his belt. It could be argued that the big hill is in his genes as well, as his father Rod Millen set a time of 10:04.06 in 1994 in an all-wheel drive Toyota Celica, a record set when the entire course was still completely dirt. The record stood for 13 years until it was broken by Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima in 2007 with a time of 10:01.408.
The 2010 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb kicks off June 22nd with the technical inspection, followed by three days of practice, an off day, and then the big event on June 27th.