Mitsubishi will tackle the Pikes Peak Hill Climb for the third time in a row using an electric race car packing similar technology to that found in its i-MiEV zero-emission minicar. The Japanese automaker will be bringing two third-generation electric racers, known as the MiEV Evolution III, and has recruited the same driver pairing as last year: Hiroshi Masuoka and Greg Tracy.
Masuoka came second in the Electric Modified Division last year, after having been defeated by Pikes Peak legend Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima in his E-Runner Pikes Peak Special. Tracy, meanwhile, finished third in class. Both were driving Mitsubishi’s MiEV Evolution II. Competition will be as tough as ever since Tajima will be back with a new electric racer built in partnership by his own team Monster Sport and Team APEV, and Toyota may also be back with a new electric race car of its own.
Like last year’s car, the MiEV Evolution III features four electric motors that form an all-wheel-drive system complete with Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) traction technology. However, there’s been a significant power increase from the electric motors to 450 kilowatts (603 horsepower), up from 400 kilowatts (536 hp). The chassis has also been made lighter, the body reshaped for greater downforce and the S-AWC reprogramed for improved handling.
First run in 1916, the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb is a treacherous 12.42-mile/156 corner road course through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado commencing at an elevation of 9,390 feet and finishing at 14,110 feet—nearly 3 miles above sea level. It’s the country’s second oldest motorsport event after the Indianapolis 500 and this year, its 92nd running, will take place on June 29.
Mitsubishi is using its participation in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb to develop its electric car technology, especially in the area of performance. It is expected that the experience gained will be used for a new hybrid successor to the Lancer Evolution X.