The second day of practice of the 90th edition of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) consisted of steep uphill climbs and tight switchbacks for the reigning champion and record holder, Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima. This year, Tajima traded in his incredible unlimited class car for an arguably more impressive electric vehicle (EV). Tajima continued the second day of practice by learning and feeling out the car, adjusting it as required for Sunday's race day.
Today, Tajima attacked the middle section of the climb. This section is great for spectators because it has the most dramatic elevation changes and multiple switchbacks that are visible from above. These conditions can potentially favor EVs over gasoline-powered cars, as the driver does not have to worry about constant gear changes or "bogging" the engine; electric motors have a characteristically flat torque curve over most of its rev range that helps the car propel out of corners with ease.
After yesterday's first practice, Tajima made many changes to the car's setup. As a direct result, the feeling with the new car improved, and the times started to show the progress. Tajima's run topped the time sheets in his run group today, which included Exhibition, Vintage, Stock, Open, and Electric classes. Tajima warns against comparing to his competitors at this stage of practice: "The times we achieved today are only a result of the changes I made to the car. Today was only practice; the conditions will be different on race day. My main objective was to gain confidence and understanding of the car going into tomorrow's practice.”
Friday is the last day of practice allowed on the hill prior to the race, and the route features the highest elevation out of all three sections, although the change in elevation is not as great as the middle section's. Tajima says that the top section is his favorite section because the high speeds require bravery. Even though the car is clearly coming along, Tajima remains cautious about the final day's practice. His only comment when asked how he and his car will perform on Friday is, "I'll do my best."
Fan Fest - August 10, 2012 - Monster Sport would like to invite the public to meet "Monster" Tajima and see his new electric car at Fan Fest 2012. The annual pre-race celebration features food and live entertainment. Monster Sport will sell official "Monster Sport Pikes Peak" shirts and hats, available at this event only. The celebration takes place on Tejon Street between Colorado Avenue and Bijou Street in downtown Colorado Springs from 5:00 PM through 10:00 PM.