Aiming to break the ten-minute barrier
Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima – the undisputed 'King of the Mountain' and current course and World Record holder for the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb with a time of 10 minutes 1.408 seconds set in 2007, returns to the United States
this year, vowing to break his record - and the 10-minute barrier as well!
Due to the top section of the hillclimb course being partially under construction last year, any attempt to take on the record was impossible, leaving the team with unfinished business, but also with a clear goal for 2009: to go faster than anyone has ever gone before and to leave a mark that will last for many years to come.
However, it remains unsure whether construction on the top section will be completed in time for the event.
"The latest update I have is that the construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of June 09 but I fear that if the weather is not so kind, that this may be delayed, its just too close to the event to be sure," commented 'Monster' Tajima.
"I will keep my fingers crossed though and remain positive! Last year was impossible but I am sure that if conditions are improved for 2009 that a challenge on the 10-minute mark is totally possible!"
2009 will see the debut of the Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 Hillclimb Special – a car specifically designed for a new record-breaking attempt. Loosely based on previous models that 'Monster' has raced up the mountain, this car has seen major changes and technical improvements which during pre-event testing in Japan have shown that this is the new weapon of choice, with the potential to soar to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, USA on 19th July.
"The 2009 Monster Sport SX4 Hillclimb special is fantastic," Tajima declared.
"After testing it I know that it is the fastest car I have driven and if all is good with the course I am totally confident of breaking the record!"
This year, 'Monster' Tajima will be challenged by no fewer that three other competitors in the premier Unlimited division: former Swedish Rally Champion and Rallycross specialist Andreas Eriksson, former WRC superstar and flying Finn Marcus Gronholm
, and British Rallycross Champion Mark Rennison.
All will challenge 'Monster' Tajima for the fastest time next month if the full course is ready in time.
"I welcome Andreas, Marcus, Mark and their co-pilots to the Mountain this year, it is nice to be joined by such talented drivers and this is wonderful news for the event," said the trio's man to beat.
'Monster' tajima was happy to share some words of wisdom with his fellow competitors: "The mountain is not a place for the faint-hearted – it's a very specialized course, long and very challenging with its own unique characteristics that take years to come to terms with. This is not like an extended rally cross track, it's very similar to a super long and high speed Rally Super Special Stage with multiple surface combinations unlike any found elsewhere in the world, it is a course that requires extreme concentration and a very good memory certainly helps!"
"Car setup is also something that is unique to this event and without previous experience on the Mountain, I am sure that the newcomers will find this event a huge challenge," he added.
"Andreas may be a specialist on the snow and ice, Marcus is undoubtedly a specialist on the World Rally stage, and Mark a specialist in gravel rallycross but for over 20 years now, I have been a specialist at Hillclimb racing!"
"I shall look forward to seeing them all at the Peak on the 19th July," Tajima said.