On Sunday June 29, the race finals for the 92nd Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was held in Pikes Peak of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
TEAM APEV with Monster Sport had improved the race car further with the experience from last year's victory and conducted many and varied tests within Japan and had good results. However the actual conditions of the race course proved to be unharmonious, and various tuning in the settings were adjusted and tested to challenge the finals.
The weather was a fine solid blue with no clusters of clouds in sight. The temperature soon increased past what the team experienced during the sanctioned practices. Driver Monster Tajima on the E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special was 4th in line to start in the car program of the Pikes Peak race.
Due to a time-out during the bike program, the starting time was delayed. The team was concerned that the temperature would be hotter than expected, which in actuality did affect the outcome.
Monster Tajima dashed out of the starting line while maximizing traction by keeping the tires under control and took each corner to corner carefully to the top of the mountain.
During the race the temperature increase caused the onboard protection system to engage and slowed the vehicle down. Despite this problem, Monster Tajima crossed the finish line. As a result the team was able to improve the time somewhat compared to the previous year however, unable to reach the target time. The team regrets that their improvements on the machine could not be well versed in terms of time.
In the electric modified division, Mitsubishi Motor Team Greg Tracy placed 1st and Hiroshi Masuoka placed 2nd. Team APEV with Monster Sport respect the hard work and give praise to Mitsubishi Motor Corporation a major motor company and team which dedicated their full strength to compete and improve their electric racing car in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb which is staged on a public road. They believe that their participation and challenge in the harsh conditions would improve on the technology surrounding electric vehicles further.
Additional news this year, electric vehicles took 2nd to 4th place in the overall standings. While high powered gasoline engine cars have traditionally filled the higher-ranks in the previous years, the recent change in results prove the advantage and potentiality of electric vehicle. Team APEV with Monster Sport is proud and honored to be able to contribute to such accomplishment.
Team APEV with Monster Sport will once again start for the 93rd event in 2015 and the 94th which will be the 100th anniversary for the historical Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race event. The objective will be of course, the first electric car to achieve first place champion in the overall result.
Thursday, June 27, TEAM APEV revisits the middle section of the Pikes Peak course once again. Technical data has been accumulated with many trials of various vehicle settings. By running the middle section again, it provided much insight in which direction to take.
5:30AM start, the weather was cloudy without worry of rain. As the middle section is relatively short, the team had the opportunity to run 5 laps. Monster Tajima on board the E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special carefully and accurately carries the machine around each corner to check and confirm the aerodynamics and suspension settings. The results were apparent in the clocked times as they were a drastic improvement over the times clocked on the first day.
Trouble in the brake balance ensued after the first lap and soon went off the scale and hindered efforts to improve on time however, the team was able to confirm they were taking the tuning in the right direction. The team prepares to use tomorrow's maintenance day effectively and fully prepare for the final race.
The 92nd Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race final will commence on Sunday June 29th, at 8AM. The finals will start with the bike program followed by the car program. Monster Tajima piloting the E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special will start 4th in line in the car program.
Thursday, June 26 Day 2 Practice bottom section is a change of scenery from the rocky mountain side to a refreshingly vegetated Pikes National Forest. The scenic transition in just 20km of the course shows how conditions can vary in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
5:30 AM start just like the day before. The weather continues to hold up without any worry of rain. The bottom section course is a little less than 9km, and laps were limited to 3 runs.
Monster Tajima on the E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special aggressively attacks the course however, he has had a strange haunting feeling ever since the start of the race week and cannot push down on the throttle as much as he would like to.
As a result he was unable to close the large gap with his rivals. The team focuses on tuning the suspension system however the road surface and tire matching is not going well as expected. Trial and error effort would most likely continue on until the finals.
Tomorrow's Day 3 sanctioned practice will be a revisit to the middle section course and the team hopes to see some light to determine which direction to move forward.
Wednesday, June 25, the stage is set for the first day of Practice at the upper section of the mountain. The starting grid is set at "devil's playground" (yesterday's Sanctioned Practice goal point) and contestants are to reach to the goal at the top of the mountain, which also is the finishing line for the race finals.
The course goes around the mountain to the top with a smooth incline so the altitude change is only around 400m. As such, speed tends to catch on requiring the driver to plan ahead to take on corners. In addition, the road surface condition is inconsistent with bumps and potholes. The team must pay extra attention to the suspension settings more than last year.
The run starts at 5:30AM. The weather seems fine however the temperature is low especially in the early morning, which affects road surface temperature and tire temperature. Naturally, tires do not perform at its full potential when it is cold.
E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special driver Monster Tajima mentally simulates the conditions at the finals while racing through the current actual conditions.
At this time, the greatest rival of all is team Mitsubishi Motors with their good marked times. However there are differences in methods, such as the use of tire warmers etc... and policies running the practice / qualifying course, thus their results should only be for reference. Our team solely aim for the finals and carefully perfect the settings of the electric race car.
Thursday 26 will be an important day as the bottom section run also counts as the qualifying run.
On Tuesday, June 24 the long awaited run on the course has begun. The first day started off in the free participation of the sanctioned practice and the APEV team took the opportunity as a great chance to check out the race course and race car, and conducted a total of three runs.
Electric division was allocated the middle section of the entire Pikes Peak race course. This is where contestants gain much altitude on the mountain. As this section tends to put more load on the batteries than others, as an electric race car the middle section would be the best place to conduct tests.
The weather was fine however, on the course remained much snow, and the temperature felt cold than usual.
Practice runs are held in the early morning which means the road surface temperature is different compared to the final race. Prepared with two different types of tires, the team diligently collected data from tests.
Monster Tajima driver of the E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special, carefully notes the subtle changes of the much familiar mid-section course, lap after lap. And so he begins painting his scheme of victory on canvas.
The race schedule for the next three days:
Wednesday - Upper section Practice
Thursday - Lower section Practice
Friday - Middle section Practice
Thursday's lower section doubles as the qualifying run. From this year the finals starting order is now based on the qualifying time, effectively disregarding class division. Aiming for better results at the qualifying run is crucial more than ever.
On Monday, June 23 (Technical Inspection)starts the official Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race week. The first day consists of race event entry and technical inspection of the participating vehicle. The inspection was carried out at the Colorado Springs World Arena. While waiting we encountered an unexpected hail storm. It was as though we were being warned of this year's hill climb challenge will be difficult than ever.
At the technical inspection area, rivals teams of the same class show a calm mood. However underneath the guise, they are all trying to gather as much information from the other teams. This year, five cars are competing in the Electric Modified Division. For TEAM APEV with Monster Sport, the contender to watch out for would be the two cars from the Mitsubishi Motor Team. They have brought in an even improved machine to vindicate last year's results. Team Yokohama Tire, the pioneer of the electric class are also competing this year. The exalted Latvian team from last year, have changed to a Tesla car this year to challenge the hill climb once again. Their potential will be closely watched by all.
The technical inspection focuses on the safety side of the racing cars, from the driver's helmet and racing suit to the roll cages and seat belts. On top of this for electric cars, the alarm/siren systems (needed to warn people close by for safety) are carefully checked for the sound volume and electrical safety systems. Our E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special passed with flying colors.
Tomorrow June 24, the official practices will begin and the electric division will run the middle section of the mountain.
As this would be the first course run this year, the team will make the run in careful analysis of the course's condition in order to strategically plan throughout practice/qualifying and up to the final race.