2017 Norma MXX RD Limited
The Norma M20 was first introduced in 2003 as a Group CN prototype for the Prototype Endurance Challenge, the Speed EuroSeries, and the European Le Mans series. The car was also used in the FIA European Hill Climb Championship, and in 2014 in was raced at Pikes Peak for the very first time. The M20 won its maiden race with Romain Dumas behind the wheel and scored its second win two years later, in 2016, when it also ran the second-best lap. In 2017, Norma and Dumas returned at Pikes Peak with the MXX RD Limited update, scoring their third overall win in the Unlimited class.
Although it didn’t manage to best his record from 2016, Romain Dumas was a tenth-second faster than in 2014, thus posting the third-best overall time in the "Race to the Clouds." While still more than 30 seconds off Sebastien Loeb’s incredible record from 2013, Dumas’ effort is truly impressive given that Norma is a very small company that doesn’t benefit from the same financial support as the Peugeot 208 T16. It remains to be seen whether a new update will make the Norma faster in 2018, but until then, let’s have a closer look at one of the most extreme race cars ever built.
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Ride Along With Rhys Millen As He Tackles The 2017 Pikes Peak Hill Climb: Video
This year’s Race to the Clouds saw the usual lineup of insane rides challenging for the win. Per usual, the competitor list was quite diverse, with everything from factory-supported hybrid sports cars like the Acura NSX, to single-seater, open-top, hyper-winged racers like the Norma MXX RD Limited of Romain Dumas. While Dumas took top honors with a final time of 9 minutes, 5.672 seconds, Rhys Millen managed a fourth-place finish overall in his competition-prepped 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, simultaneously taking a first place-finish in the Time Attack 1 class. Millen is a Pikes Peak veteran, with a resume that includes an overall win in 2015 behind the wheel of the eO PP03, following in the footsteps of father Rod Millen as one of the fastest competitors at the annual event. As if to underline that point, we have footage of Millen’s 2017 run right here for your viewing pleasure.
The perspective is from Millen’s helmet, providing a thrilling view as the New Zealander tackles the Peak’s 156 turns and 12.42 miles. There are definitely a few moments, but Millen handles them all in stride, staying calm and collected on his way to a class victory. We can’t wait to see what he’ll do next year.
Relive Sebastien Loeb’s Record Run Up Pikes Peak: Video
In case you were unaware, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is getting underway right this very second, and that means a whole swath of race-ready rides congregating in Colorado to take a swing at the 156 turns and high-altitude craziness that is America’s Mountain. And while simply getting to the top unscathed is in itself quite the accomplishment, some are vying to etch their names into the history books by beating the current standing record time of 8 minutes, 13.878 seconds, set back in 2013 by legendary rally champion Sebastien Loeb in a Peugeot 206 T16. But, as you might expect, such a feat is easier said than done, as evidenced by the above-featured video documenting every turn of Loeb’s incredible blitz to the clouds.
From the off, it’s clear Loeb is holding nothing back. The same talent that earned him an unprecedented nine World Rally Championship titles is very much on display, as is his incredible bravery as he uses every inch of pavement, even with nothing more than heart-stopping drops in place to greet him should he muck it up. The video combines a multitude of camera angles, including a passenger seat POV, in-car shots, bumper shots, and helicopter shots, providing the viewer with a fantastic overview. Also of note is just how clean the run is, with very little in terms of sliding or corrections. Will 2017 be the year Loeb’s record falls? By the look of it – probably not.
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2017 Pikes Peak - Race Report
The 95th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb brought together almost 80 competitors for the year’s most exciting hill climb race. Spread over eleven divisions that included both gas and electric drivetrains, some of motorsport’s fastest cars and motorcycles raced up the iconic hill in Colorado in search of new world records. Unfortunately, no record was beaten this year — the fastest car was even slower than last year’s winner — but the 2017 Pikes Peak was spectacular nonetheless.
This year’s event gathered 78 vehicles at the starting line, but only 66 made it to the peak to take the checkered flag. A norm for the winner in recent years, the 10-minute benchmark was broken for the sixth time, but no car managed to get below the nine-minute mark. However, this year’s winner set the third-quickest time on the 12.42-mile lap, an impressive time despite being nearly a minute slower than Sebastien Loeb’s all-time record from 2013. In all, five cars and two motorcycles completed the race in less than 10 minutes.
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Five Cars To Keep An Eye On At Pikes Peak This Year
With the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb kicking off this weekend, we here at TopSpeed are practically giddy at the thought of watching all those high-powered machines take on one of the most exciting, long-running, and flat-out challenging motorsports events in the U.S. Finding the win at the top of the world in Colorado takes just the right combination of elements, with a wide spread of entries taking up the challenge. This year, more than 50 individual racers will sprint to the peak, with both domestic and international representatives in attendance. But one of the most fascinating things about the PPIHC is the surprisingly diverse mixture of cars, which includes modern hybrid sports cars, all-electric spaceships, purpose-built track cars, and modified street cars. There’s even a freightliner, and believe it or not, it’s quick. As such, we’ve outlined five cars to keep an eye on at Pikes Peak this year.
Some are new, while others are old standbys for the event. Each, however, is very, very fast. But as always, we wanna know – which entry will you be rooting for? Let us know in the comments section below, and don’t forget to check out our additional PPIHC pre-event coverage here and here.
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What You Need To Know About The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
It’s affectionally called the “Race to the Clouds,” a nickname it earned for its unconventional race course, at least relative to traditional race courses. It’s also been referred to as one of the toughest races in the world and the world’s most famous hill climbing competition - no small feats for an event that it’s been around for 101 years. Whatever name or whatever description it goes by, this race will forever be referred to as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and it’s taking place for the 95th time this weekend on June 25.
Like most years, a huge throng of people will be making the pilgrimage to Colorado Springs this weekend in what has become one of the most eagerly anticipated racing spectacles in the U.S. Pikes Peak is non-traditional in a sense that it’s not part of a racing series, nor is it an actual race track or oval circuit. Instead, competitors literally have to go up a mountain to get to the finish line. If it sounds easy in that description, it’s actually not. Far from it, to be honest. Competing in Pikes Peak takes a toll on the driver and the car in ways that no other kind of motorsport race can do. That’s a big reason why finishing it as much of a big deal as actually winning it, let alone setting an actual record. So ahead of this weekend’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, we’ve prepared a little primer to get people up-to-speed on the history of the race, the spectacle that comes with it, and the expectations that will go in being invested in the outcome of this year’s race.
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Will the 2017 Pikes Peak Bring New Records?
The 95th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is set to commence on June 25, a day that will most certainly provide plenty of intense and spectacular racing. The entry lineup is once again as diverse as it gets with 53 cars spread over six classes and 30 motorcycles over five divisions, but will we finally see a new record being set for the iconic race course?
The quickest time from start to finish dates back to 2013 when French ace, Sebastien Loeb, completed the course in an incredible 8:13.878 minutes in a beefed-up version of the Peugeot 208, called the T16 Pikes Peak. And, "incredible" is not just a fancy word, as not only has this record survived for almost four years, it also looks unbeatable. Last year’s best time in Unlimited Division was set at 8:51.445, a whopping 38 seconds behind Loeb’s all-time record! Is this going to change in 2017?
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This 2,400-Horse Freightliner is Probably the Strangest Pikes Peak Contender
Apparently, Mike Ryan isn’t the average guy. For the last two years, he’s races his 2008 Freightliner big-rig in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado. The famed event is the second-oldest race in the country, but has remained a top-tier test for cutting-edge machines like electric vehicles and other complex vehicles. But perhaps the oddest is Ryan’s 10,300-pound Freightliner semi-truck.
Ryan raced the Freightliner in 2015 and 2016, posting a respectable time of 05:16.286 in 2015 on the lower section run to Glen Cove. Sadly, a DNF in 2016 sidelined Ryan and his team. Nevertheless, the sight of a massive truck running Pikes Peak is something to behold. In an interview with The Fast lane Truck, Ryan showcased his hand-build rig and all its secrets.
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Acura’s Preparing For a Full-On Onslaught at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Over the past five years, Acura has been a staple at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. It’s done quite well for itself there, including last year when it sent three modified NSX supercars, scoring the Time Attack 2 win with a time of 10 minutes and 28 seconds. This year, the Honda-owned automaker will make it six years in a row at Pikes Peak, and once more, it’s bringing with it some heavy-hitting machinery, including a GT3-inspired NSX, a TLX GT racer, and a debuting TLX A-Spec racer.
All three cars will be competing in Pikes Peak, so don’t expect these machines to be run of the mill. Each have been prepared specifically to handle the rigorous hill climb, arriving at the event packing aerodynamic, engine, and suspension upgrades. Pikes Peak isn’t your typical race track after all, so you can be sure that all three cars are getting ready to stake their names in the race. Beyond having these racers, Acura’s involvement at Pikes Peak also extends to pace car duties since the company is the Official Pace Car sponsor at this year’s race. On top of that, Acura is also participating in a handful of pre-race activities to showcase all of the four-wheeled racing hardware it’s bringing to the event and hosting an MDX Rookie Orientation in the lead-up to the race. It’s going to be a busy weekend for Acura when the flags start flying on June 23.
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Check Out The Norma That Conquered Pikes Peak This Year
Romain Dumas has had a busy schedule lately. After slicing and dicing his way to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Frenchman flew halfway across the world to take top honors at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC). While Dumas’ Superman-like efforts are not to be denied, none of it would’ve been possible without the incredible machines placed under his command. Case in the point – this mountain-munching Norma M20 RD Limited.
Unlike the heavy-hitting technological powerhouses found in the Pikes Peak Electric Division, the open-cockpit Norma prototype is a little more old school – low weight, sequential gearbox, gas-burning engine in the middle. It’s the same car that Dumas wheeled to his first PPIHC win in 2014 – extensively upgraded for 2016, of course.
Updates include refined aerodynamics, a new turbocharger, more power, and a retuned chassis, all of which contribute mightily to the car’s hill climb prowess. But the most significant change is the addition of a new AWD system, a critical component for any competitor looking to post a fast time at America’s Mountain.
So then – what the heck is a Norma, anyway?
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Tesla Model S Storms Pikes Peak; More EV Racers Expected
This past weekend, a modified Tesla Model S set the new Electric Production class record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, cresting the summit in 11:48.264. The new record is part of a surge in EV competition at the world-famous motor race.
Piloting the record-setting Tesla was Blake Fuller, CEO of Go Puck, a Florida-based producer of mobile device charging solutions with a history in developing race car battery technology. Fuller first raced at Pikes Peak in 1999, earning the title of Rookie of the Year at the age of 18. In 2002, he took a win in the Open class.
This year, the Go Puck Tesla was the only entry in the Electric Production class. Fuller trounced the previous record of 12:55.591, which was set in 2014 by Roy Richards driving a 2012 Honda Fit EV.
Overall, the Go Puck Tesla placed 65th in a field that included some of the most badass speed machines on the planet, including the 2016-spec Norma M20 RD of Romain Dumas, and the 1,600-horsepower Drive eO PP100 of Rhys Millen.
To put it in perspective, Fuller’s time slotted between two entries from the Time Attack 1 class – the Toyota Starlet of Mikko Kataja (11:48.877), and the Subaru WRX STI of Andy Kingsley (11:55.849), which placed 11th and 12th in class, respectively.
Compared to the leaderboards, Fuller’s time might not seem that impressive, but trust me, it is. The Go Puck Model S is breaking new ground for Tesla’s popular four-door, forging a path towards that holy of holies – racing. What’s more, it represents a critical facet of the real EV Revolution currently taking place at America’s Mountain.
Read on for the details, including a profile of the Go Puck Tesla Model S race car.
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Pikes Peak – Birthplace of the REAL EV Revolution
Over the weekend, France’s Romain Dumas secured his second career victory at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, becoming the first driver in history to take wins at Pikes Peak and Le Mans in the same season. After qualifying first in the running order, Dumas posted a time of 8:51.445 in the 2016-spec Norma M20 RD (Unlimited Division), averaging more than 81 mph over the 12.42-mile, 156-turn race course. Dumas’ sub-9-minute time is the second quickest in the event’s 100-year history, bested only by Sebastien Loeb’s otherworldly 8:13.878 from 2013.
Nipping at Dumas’ heels was a pair of entries from the Electric Modified class – Rhys Millen (Drive eO PP100) and Tetsuya Yamano (Acura NSX EV Concept), with a time of 8:57.118 and 9:06.015, respectively. Further back in the field, Layne Schranz (2015 Chevrolet SS) finished first in the Open class (9:53.071), Clint Vahsholtz (2013 Ford Open) finished first in the Open Wheel class (9:54.050), David Donner (2013 Porsche GT3R) finished first in the TA1 class (10.00.813), and Nick Robinson (Acura NSX) finished first in the TA2 class (10:28.820).
For the complete race results, click here. You can also find more info on the event in our preview here.
Dumas’ impressive back-to-back wins in Colorado and France shouldn’t be downplayed, but the real story from this year’s PPIHC has to be from the Electric Division. One look at the time sheet reveals just how close Millen and the eO came to defeating Dumas’ internal-combustion-powered Norma (5.673 seconds), which is remarkable when you consider the speed with which EV racers have taken to the Pikes Peak podium.
In just a few short years, all-electric speed machines have settled in as the cars to beat at America’s Mountain, heralding the real EV Revolution. But why Pikes Peak, and more importantly, why now?
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2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – Preview
In 1916, Coloradan businessman Spencer Penrose sponsored a motor race up the newly improved Pikes Peak Highway as a means to promote tourism. Eventually, the invitational grew to become one of the most important races of the year, attracting the world’s top drivers and playing host to a field of cutting-edge go-fast machinery. Now, exactly 100 years after the inaugural “Race to the Clouds,” the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) marches forward as an unparalleled challenge to both man and machine, probing limits by way of unpredictable weather conditions, power-sapping altitude, and potentially lethal danger. This is the race for America’s Mountain.
Held annually during the final Sunday of June, the PPIHC sees its 94th running this year, making it one of the oldest motor races in the world. Sprinting to the peak will be a collection of 100 vehicles, including race cars, streets cars, EVs, quads, trucks, motorcycles, and sidecars, all of which fall into broad classifications meant to accommodate diversity and technological innovation.
Vying for glory alongside the Americans will be an international crowd of drivers, with representatives from Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Taiwan, and the U.K. Last year, outright victory went to Rhys Millen and the all-electric Drive eO PP03, marking the first time an all-electric vehicle clinched top honors at the event. This year, Millen will look to go back-to-back in the updated eO PP100, while Acura joins the fray with a trio of NSX’s. Challenging the battery-suckers will be a hoard of internal-combustion-only opponents, from open-wheel formula cars, to European track weapons, to Japanese rally specials, to big-displacement American muscle.
From this motley crew, who will rise to the top? Read on for a breakdown of this year’s PPIHC.
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Acura NSX To Make North American Racing Debut At Pikes Peak
After several years of rumors and delays, the second-generation Acura NSX finally made its official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show and went on sale in early 2016. With the first example having rolled off the assembly line in May, Acura is getting ready to put on a show at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Specifically, besides providing an NSX as one of official pace cars, the company will also run two specially prepped sports cars in the Time Attack classes.
The event, which celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the iconic "Race to the Clouds," will also mark the North American racing debut of the second-generation NSX.
The two vehicles will compete in the Time Attack 1 and 2 classes and will be driven by brothers James and Nick Robinson, respectively. Both are part of Acura’s North American engineering team and Nick will tackle his fifth Pikes Peak race in an Acura. Between 2012 and 2015, he drove a first-generation NSX.
Both vehicles have been modified to meet regulations in their respective classes, but changes were restricted to safety equipment, chassis lightening, and a custom, high-flow racing exhaust for the Time Attack 1 car. Other than that, and the colorful liveries, the sports cars are as stock as they get, including the hybrid drivetrain.
In addition to the NSX racers, Acura will campaign an NSX-inspired prototype vehicle in the Electric Modified Class, featuring the further evolution of the experimental, all-electric, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system that won last year’s Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition class.
The 100th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will take place on June 26.
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