Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) saw the company’s advanced all-new MiEV Evolution II race car place second and third in class in the EV Division in the 91st running of the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) in the talented hands of two-time Dakar Rally winner Hiroshi Masuoka and six-time PPIHC motorcycle champion Greg Tracy.
The race, held on June 30th, commenced in the morning under a calm, clear blue sky; however these ideal weather conditions took a turn for the worse and a downpour of rain hit the track just before the pair of MiEV Evolution II race cars commenced their runs at this legendary time trial event.
Just as Greg Tracy – who was the fastest qualifier within the Electric Vehicle division – approached the time for his run up the mountain, the poor weather forced the team to make a quick tire swap to grooved tires rather than the higher performance non-grooved racing slicks. Both Tracy and Masuoka raced in extremely difficult wet conditions, along with limited visibility in the higher sections of the race course, resulting in Masuoka recording a time of 10 minutes, 21.866 seconds, with Tracy following closely behind at 10 minutes, 23.649 seconds.
Yet even in these challenging conditions, the pair broke last year’s second place time in the EV Division of 10 minutes, 30.850, achieved in 2012 by Masuoka piloting the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution on a dry road in optimal conditions.
Finishing in second-place in the Electric Division for a second year in a row, team captain and driver Masuoka commented on the race: “Just before the start, since the road became completely wet, we had to swap the tires from slicks to grooved. Even with the grooved tires, the pavement was really wet and the car was sliding around quite a bit. It really was treacherous conditions to drive in, but both cars were able to make it to the top safely. Since we were aiming for the win, the result is quite disappointing. While due to this rain, it is easy to blame the result on our luck, we must also realize our weakness and continue to make improvements for the future.”
For Greg Tracy, this was his first Pikes Peak attempt piloting a race car rather than a motorcycle. While disappointed by the outcome, Tracy reflected upon his difficult ascent to the summit: “Since I was aiming for the win, I am thoroughly disappointed. Due to the heavy rain that came pouring down just before our run, the conditions were not drivable. With that said, we should probably be satisfied just by finishing safely. Since it was dry during every practice session, we literally had zero time in the car in rainy conditions. However, since the MiEV EvolutionⅡ ran so well in the dry, I really would like to come back to do this again, aiming for the win.”
A completely all-new design from the ground up, the technologically-advanced MiEV Evolution II features a unique quad-motor (two front/two rear) drivetrain, next-generation lithium-ion batteries by Lithium Energy Japan (LEJ), an optimized all-electric version of Mitsubishi’s exceptionally capable Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system and wind tunnel-derived, aerodynamically-enhanced carbon-fiber bodywork.