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This Sunday, drifting star Rhys Millen is attempting to take this ferocious-looking Hyundai into the record books by completing the 20km Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, USA, in less than 10 minutes. Let’s take a look at those lucky numbers.

 

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To date Millen has made nine runs up Pikes Peak, setting his personal best (12:09.397) and record time in the two-wheel drive class in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe that he uses for drifting. But the Millen family are no strangers to the mountain. Rhys’s dad Rod set the fastest time four times in the 90s and set the overall record that stood for 13 years until it was broken by Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima in 2007.

 

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speaking of Monster Tajima, that’s his record (set in a Suzuki XL7 Hill Climb Special). The Race to the Clouds has been running since 1916 and in all 88 editions, no one has yet gone sub-10. This year both Tajima and Millen intend to do exactly that.

 

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verses to America, The Beautiful, the patriotic song penned by poet and feminist Katharine Lee Bates, who went home and wrote the words after spending half an hour on the summit of Pikes Peak. Here, the Wellesley College English professor describes her own Race to the Clouds, made by mule in 1893.“I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.”
 

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turns on the 19.99 km (12.42-mile) course as it winds its way up Pikes Peak. In 10 minutes or less, Millen will rise 1,438m (4,721ft) and will need oxygen to help him cope with the quick change of altitude. “I have a nasal breather that’s connected to a bottle of oxygen that we use all the way up the hill,” he says. “I’m not too manly to admit that oxygen’s going to help me. It’s going to keep me focused and alert. The startline is at 10,000ft [3,048m] and the finish is at 14,000ft [4,267m], so you know you’re gonna need it in the end.”

  

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kilos (1,850lbs), the weight of the tube-framed, carbon fibre Hyundai Genesis PM580 that Rhys has built for the specific challenge of taking on the Race to the Clouds. The PM580’s 4.1 litre, turbocharged V6 Lambda engine develops a massive 750bhp. "It's unlike anything I've ever driven," says Rhys. To stop Millen from going into orbit of the top of Pikes Peak, he has a set of carbon ceramic Brembo brakes fitted to the lightweight 17-inch HRE wheels.

 

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Toyo Proxes R1R tyres on those HRE wheels. Rather than using custom-made racing tyres, Millen is using a set of off-the-shelf Toyo tyres to keep his PM580 planted on the combination of tarmac and gravel as the road surface gradually degrades as it rises up the mountain. “The Pikes Peak surface is not like your traditional race track surface. It’s a 60% tarmac and 40% gravel mix with extreme weather conditions, and has below average surface temperatures,” said Millen. “So a true race tyre is out of its element, but the Toyo tyres are right at home with tons of grip and superior handling.”

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is the booking line for the train that makes the trip up the mountain eight times a day. It may take rather more than 10 minutes but at least you can enjoy a picnic while you take in the majestic views. The price is $34 per adult.

Watch Rhys Millen and his new car in full action:


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