This year's Pikes Peak "Race to the Clouds" could well be a turning point for electric vehicles in motorsport.
While one will be virtually stock and driven by Beccy Gordon, the other is anything but standard.
Known as the i-MiEV Evolution, it's a stripped-down, single-seat prototype that only vaguely resembles the car on which it's based.
That starts with the electric motor--or rather, three of them. One powers the front wheels, the other two work the rears, and together they develop over 320 horsepower--just a little more than the standard car's 66 hp.
The battery too is over twice the capacity of the road car's unit, at 35 kWh. The Evolution's driver, Hiroshi Matsuoka, will be going it alone too, as the tube-frame car only has room for one.
In reality, the i-MiEV Evolution has only a passing resemblance to the more humble road car, with a narrowed version of the i-MiEV's bodywork sitting on an extended chassis that's over two feet longer than the production car, a foot wider and almost a foot lower. Helping keep that body on the asphalt are 18-inch wheels wrapped in 245-section tires.
Whether or not you're a fan of electric cars--in racing or in general--the electric racers at this year's Pikes Peak event are set to make it one of the most exciting yet.
The 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb begins on July 8.