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2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report

June 28 - Race Day Finals
Electric Vehicles WIN Overall 1st and 2nd place at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb!

Sunday June 28, the 93rd Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Day Finals Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, Colorado

For their 4th year challenge, TEAM APEV with MONSTER SPORT pitched their newly developed electric machine "Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One". In their short period of development time, the electric car featured technologies connected to future mass production cars for the consumer market. With a peak output of 1.1MW (Megawatt: Approx. 1,500PS) and 4 wheel independent torque vectoring control, the car is a safe and quick machine aimed to pursue ultimate high performance only found in electric propulsion.

2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report June 28 - Race Day Finals 1

The race day started with bright sunshine and warm climate, luring the sense of a wonderful day to hold the race finals. The 2-wheel division started out first then on to the 4-wheels. MONSTER Tajima piloting the "Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One" started fourth in line. In the same Electric Modified Division, rival driver Rhys Millen started out third before MONSTER Tajima began chasing after him up the mountain. The crowd cheered to the aggressive acceleration of electric cars as they launched out the starting line.

2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report June 28 - Finals 2

However the mechanical brakes failed during the race causing a huge loss in time. Determined not to give up, MONSTER Tajima safely managed to dash across the finish line 4,300m up at the mountain peak. The time marked 9 minutes 32 seconds 401 which stands as a massive 11 second improvement over his last personal record.

Despite the day starting out with beautiful weather, during the afternoon it quickly changed into a barrage of hail covering the mountain into a desolate silvery world. At the base of the mountain was a severe thunderstorm which caused suspension of the race by race officials. The heavy rain and thunder receded away 30 minutes later, however due to safety concerns the course was truncated, and the finish line moved down to Glen Cove. This means that all entrants who have made it up to the peak will have their time qualified only up to Glen Cove as their official time. This is just one of the charms of challenging the Pikes Peak Hill Climb of its unabridged unrelenting reality of mother-nature being itself but it is also the principal reason why numerous research and development team from auto manufactures visit the mountain.

Our race result is not a match with Driver Rhys Millen quite naturally, as his car is a different concept and separate category as its sole purpose is aimed to achieve a great time up the mountain. Similar to a racing kart, it is a massive 324kg lighter weight than our car. Having said that, the significance of electric cars with independent concepts winning 1st and 2nd place overall for the first time in racing history at Pikes Peak Hill Climb, is the best possible result we achieved with our consumer market car developing package.

2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report June 28 - Race Day Finals 3

Driver Comments: Monster Tajima

The weather for this year’s Pikes Peak was very serious. Our team was able to reach the top section, however the course was shortened by a half up to Glen Cove. I am fully satisfied being able to run the full course however unfortunately I could not drive as I wanted due to the mechanical brakes breaking during the race. In light of this, since we are partnered with Croatian company Rimac Automobili in order to pursue development of ultimate vehicle control, their torque vectoring system worked beautifully despite the fact the mechanical brakes were lost, I was still able to surpass my time last year by 11 seconds. As for development in technology, we were able to pursue many developments during the race week and it was great to be able to prove its performance at the hill climb. We intend to further advance our ‘all wheel control concept’ of controlling 4 wheels independently to develop automobiles that people can drive safely under any condition. Pikes Peak is a wonderful hill climb. I wish to be part of it even further and wish for your kind support for our team and challenge into the future.

2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report June 28 - Race Day Finals 2

Final Result

Overall Standings

Pos. No. Driver Car Division Time
1 3 Rhys Millen eO Electric Modified 9:07.222
2 1 Nobuhiro Tajima TAJIMA Electric Modified 9:32.401
3 98 Paul Dallenbach PVA Open Wheel 9:36.496
4 111 Jeff Zwart PORSCHE Time Attack1 9:46.243
5 88 Spencer Steele PVA Open Wheel 9:53.494
6 18 Clint Vahsholtz FORD Open Wheel 9:55.479


Because of the severe weather and course shortening ALL TIMES ARE INVALIDATED!!! Check the PPIHC website for final Official Results at a later time.

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June 26 - Practice / Qualifying Day 3

On Day 3 Practice / Qualifying we revisited the top section of Pikes Peak once again.
This is the same identical course as the sanctioned practice held on the 23rd.
It is a convenient opportunity for the team to compare and verify the performance improvements implemented during the past sleepless days.

2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report June 25 - Practice / Qualifying Day 3


As usual, practice starts at 5:30AM. The weather is fine and the climate is nominal.
MONSTER Tajima piloting the "Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One" attacked the course while carefully checking and confirming each element on the car that was worked upon to be improved.
The outcome proved itself in the resulting time, which marvelously surpassed the time set on Day 1.

Despite the short time period to build and develop, the car is now coming together in the racing setup and the team is feeling positive about it.
The premise of our challenge and aim is to promote and help expand the global use of electric vehicles and derive any and all technology developed in racing the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb to be used in production vehicles.
Developments are progressing favorably, and the future outlook is becoming clear.


Driver Comments: Monster Tajima

“Day 3 practice is now complete. The entire tuning of the car is finally coming together. Our car this year looks very similar to last year’s however internally it is a totally different car an entirely new system and new battery. I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to the team and Rimac Automobili for realizing and developing this car up to its current state in such a short period of time.
Giti Tire Corporation also developed the tires in a very tight timeframe in order to accommodate the huge power output. We had no slack in development time and indeed it was a difficult challenge. Still, for now I am relieved that I was able to run the day 3 practice how I imagined to drive. As for the car’s performance, the E-Runner is 80kg heavier than last year’s model which is a significant disadvantage on the hill climb. Even so, the resulting time for our run today surpassed the time set last year, which proves the better performance of our car this year. On Sunday’s Race day I aim to renew the time set last year at [9m 43sec. 900]. I wish for all your supports further at the final race.”


The 93rd Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Finals will be held after ‘Set-Up Day’ on Saturday and the first competitor starts out at 8AM on Sunday 28th. 2-Wheeled Divisions start first then onto the 4-Wheeled Divisions.

Practice / Qualifying Day 3 top Section Results

Electric Modified Division
Pos. No. Driver Car Run1 Run2 Run3 Run4
1 3 Rhys Millen eO DNS 2:26.83 2:22.20 DNS
2 1 Nobuhiro Tajima TAJIMA 2:40.08 2:34.19 2:35.52 DNS
3 83 Tim O'Neil Entropy Racing 3:15.83 3:12.45 3:18.64 DNS
4 82 Rick Knoop Entropy Racing 3:33.89 3:23.58 3:16.51 DNS
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June 25 - Practice / Qualifying Day 2

Day 2 Qualifying / Practice was held at the middle section of Pikes Peak hill climb.
Drivers start out from Glen Cove soon passing by the forest line and face the barren and steep mountain side. The road then climbs into a serpentine and hairpin combination.
The steepness is as if launching the drivers into the sky as they gain more and more altitude.
Here the hairpin turns have a small radius and connect to steep inclined serpentine roads, which causes drivers to go into a pattern of hard braking in approaching a hairpin turn and dashing right out of it to the next hairpin and so on.
The key strategy to save time here counts on how well the driver could get the speed up as early as possible.

2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report June 25 - Practice / Qualifying Day2 1

As usual, the day started before sunrise at 5:30AM.
There is nothing to break the blowing cold wind passed the forest line.
Careful and precise driving is a requirement until the sun comes out to warm up the road surface.
MONSTER Tajima piloting the "Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One" made 3 runs and brought back valuable data back to the team.

The team had continued to solve many problems commonly encountered with a totally new vehicle.
The majority of remaining issues up till yesterday were mostly defined and clear to them.
After the practice laps at the mountain, today was a day to test many tuning and driving patterns in a private session.
Four wheel independent control system went through further refinement, focusing on improvents of drivability and traction.
"Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One" is steadily and surely accumulating data and maturing.
With only 2 days to race day, the team burns the candle at both ends with eyes set on the starting line for the final race.

2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report June 25 - Practice / Qualifying Day 2 2


Driver Comments: Monster Tajima

"I was only able to run one firm lap.
Despite the condition, the lap was 6 seconds better than last year's time so I do not feel too bad about it.
Even though the kerb weight had increased compared to last year's car, in turn the power is up and assisted with Torque Vectoring which enables the tires to be used more effectively, so we are getting somewhere.
Now we continue to test out various adjustiments to find the most optimal settings.
All I hope for now is to have the Torque Vectoring system to reliably match up with my driving......
We have engineers for four wheel independent control and engineers for tires. Experts on both sides are focusing all strength so the car is only going to get better and better.
Today was indeed a greatly fruitful day. "


Tomorrows Practice / Qualifying Day 3 will be a revisit to the top section of the mountain. The great Fan Fest will be held in the evening at the town center of Colorado Springs. With 37 thousand visitors at the event, the entire town is sure to be lively with the Pikes Peak Hill Climb heat. The event definitely sets the tone to welcome the final race day.


Practice / Qualifying Day 2 middle Section Results

Electric Modified Division
Pos. No. Driver Car Run1 Run2 Run3 Run4 Run5 Run6
1 3 Rhys Millen eO DNS DNS 2:18.06 2:16.36 DNS 2:15.11
2 1 Nobuhiro Tajima TAJIMA 2:31.17 DNS 3:03.22 DNS DNS 2:24.92
3 83 Tim O'Neil Entropy Racing   3:12.78 3:09.40   DNS 3;05.83
4 82 Rick Knoop Entropy Racing   3:26.91 3:21.49   DNS DNS
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June 24 - Practice / Qualifying Day 1

Day 1 Practice / Qualifying - Today Electric Modified division runs the bottom section of the mountain. This time drivers start out from the starting line just like the race finals, then gradually gain altitude up to a point 1 mile before Glen Cove where the bottom section ends. In total, the bottom section distance spans 10km long, which is actually nearly half of the full Pikes Peak race course. The route runs through the vast beautifully wooded area of Pike National Forest. Road condition here was found to be quite acceptable and the plenty wide road provided comfortable driving.

2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report June 24 - Practice / Qualifying Day 1


5:30AM Qualifying / Practice run starts.As for weather, clouds were observed although without concern of rain fall and the temperature seemed warmer than yesterday. We all know driver "MONSTER" Tajima is very experienced and familiar to the Pikes Peak course, as he climbed to the top a few dozen times in the past. On the other hand the MONSTER's totally new car "Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One" had only just started on its maiden voyage. It boasts a high-tech, highly intelligent Torque Vectoring 4 motor independent control onboard, however it must start learning the race line and take in various factors of the entire hill climb stage.And so the team dilligently work to make adjustments in preparations for the road conditions expected to be at the final race.


Driver Comments: Monster Tajima

"Our new machine is the most powerful and torqueful than any of our preceeding cars and it is in great condition. However the control system managing its power should be doing much much better, so we are now trying to tune the settings. I found no issues with the road condition for the bottom section. Right now the most important thing to do is to further refine the 4 wheel independent control system."


Qualifying / Practice Day 2 tomorrow will be, last but not least, the middle section of Pikes Peak hill climb. This section features a serpentine / hairpin mountain road engraved onto the steep mountain side climbing and gaining altitude at fantastic rate. In order to achieve a great time, power and traction must work in unison.


Practice / Qualifying Day 1 Bottom Section Results

Electric Modified Division

Pos. No. Driver Car Run1 Run2 Run3
1 3 Rhys Millen eO 3:47.164 3:43.755 DNS
2 1 Nobuhiro Tajima TAJIMA 4:06.804 4:08.291 4:23.182
3 83 Tim O'Neil Entropy Racing   4:51.013 4:50.535
4 82 Rick Knoop Entropy Racing 5:23.560 4:57.466 4:56.292


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June 23 - Sanctioned Practice Day

The highly anticipated 93rd Pikes Peak International begins its race week. After the Registration and Technical inspection on the 22nd, on the 23rd the actual driving on the course begins. Although participation in the practice run is optional, the team places high value to the rare opportunity of running the course.

2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race Report June 23 - Sanctioned Practice Day


Today the Electric Division was allocated the ‘Top Section’ of the mountain.This is the part from ‘Devils Playground’ at altitude 3,800m to the ‘Finish Line’ at 4,300m.The mountain saw snow fall right before the race week with much snow remaining on the face of the mountain; a sight unseen in recent years.Paddock and race course were restored to usable condition, and it looks to be without any problem for the race.

On the other hand a problem emerges in relation to the course’s condition. Over the past seasons the road surface became alarmingly uneven and one could see the waves in continuous sections. The worse sections would throw racing cars off the course. This day 2 machines suffered and went off the course.

As the top section is overall a high speed section, even the subtle waves and gaps affect the race machine requiring further precision in driving. One might think that since the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is now a fully paved course, race machines would be tuned closely to race tracks. However this is not the case. Pikes Peak still retains its unique property as a race using public road, requiring machine and driver to adapt to varying environmental conditions. This is one of the reasons why TEAM APEV with MONSTER SPORT continues to participate in this particular race, to refine the technology to adapt.

‘MONSTER’ Tajima piloting "Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One", focused all senses to ‘read’ the changes of the road condition during practice. This is to draw the optimal racing line and simultaneously verify the direction to take the calibration and tuning of the EV race car.


Driver Comments: Monster Tajima

“Today we have conducted tests using the opportunity of Sanctioned Practice Day.
As a result we have been able to collect much data and would like to prepare our setup to try out Practice 1 tomorrow. The road condition is very bad this year, especially at the latter half of the top section. It is more bumpy than before, throwing the car in all directions, making it a tough condition to race. Already, cars have gone off course so we need to take caution to review suspension strokes and ensure we have the best tuning. Now I am going to descend the mountain and do tests in preparation for tomorrow”

Tomorrow for Practice/qualifying Day 1, Electric Division will run through the rich wilderness of trees in contrast to today’s section. As the practice runs would act as qualifying time, achieving a good time would be important, however looking at the race in total, tomorrow would be a full day to find the best tuning adaptable to the entire Pikes Peak race course.

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