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Specially prepared Suzuki XL7 breaks Hill
Climb overall time record at Pikes Peak
Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, driving his
modified Suzuki Sport XL7 Hill Climb Special, broke the
long-standing overall time record at the 85th Pikes Peak
International Hill Climb near Colorado Springs, Colo., on July
21. Tajima crossed the Devil's Playground finish line posting a
time of 10 minutes, 1.408 seconds, breaking the 1994 record of
New Zealand’s Rod Millen by nearly three seconds.
“I’m excited about the victory and
etching Suzuki’s name in the Pikes Peak record books,” said
Tajima. “I look forward to challenging Pikes Peak next year with
the goal of breaking the 10-minute barrier.”
Suzuki and Monster Tajima first
challenged Pikes Peak in 1988. He first won the Unlimited
Division in 1993 driving a Twin Engine Suzuki Cultus. Again in
1995, he drove a Twin Engine Suzuki Escudo to the overall win.
Tajima was named overall winner in the 2006 Pikes Peak
International Hill Climb, and this year, from the time the
carbon fiber clad, twin-turbocharged, 1,000-horsepower XL7
racecar rolled off the trailer, he was the driver to beat.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
is called the “Race to the Clouds” and its proud history goes
back to 1916. The race starts at an altitude of 9,390 feet above
sea level (2,862 meters), and finishes at 14,107 feet above sea
level (4,300 meters). The altitude change is 4,593 feet or 1,400
meters. In just 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) the course winds
through a total of 156 corners.
The race is simple; whoever finishes
with the fastest time wins. The course is made up of three
sections; the high-speed, paved section on the bottom, the
technical section in the middle and the barren, gravel road at
the top section - located above the tree line. There are no
guardrails so there can be no mistakes by the drivers. Just one
mistake puts drivers and vehicles off the course and down the
The combination of high altitude and low oxygen
makes the course tough on both normally aspirated racecars and their
normally aspirated drivers. To conquer Pikes Peak, the race vehicles
need large wings, good aerodynamic balance and nearly 1,000 horsepower.
August 20, 2007