Time for a lesson in geography, because this place will be important in the coming days. You’re looking at Pikes Peak, a mountain grown from the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the Unites States of America.

Stand at the pinnacle of Pikes Peak and you’ll be standing 14,115 feet (4,302 m) above sea level. To give you an idea how tall this mountain is, the highest point of our Mount Kinabalu is 13,435 feet (4,095 m) above sea level. Yes, altitude sickness will be an issue here.

If you had an eye on international news last month, specifically US news, then you’d already known that a fire blazed through the place last month. It was big, one of the most destructive and most expensive the state of Colorado endured – it was called the Waldo Canyon Fire. The fire forced over 32,000 people out of their homes and razed at least 346 homes.

The forest fire also caused the postponement of one of the world’s oldest automobile and motorcycle races – the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Some of you may already know what this race is about but for those who don’t, let’s get you up to speed.


(photo from: http://www.usacracing.com/ppihc/historical/photos)

The first event, Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb, took place on August 10-12 in 1916, making it America’s second oldest motorsports race. This year’s race will be held on August 12. Prior to this year, only 89 races were held in this 96-year-old event. The fire very nearly cancelled the 90th running.

There are 156 turns scattered throughout the 12.24-mile (19.99 km) racecourse. The starting line is at 9,390 feet and its finishing line is at 14,110 feet. The cars will face a maximum ascent grade of 10.5% and a maximum descent grade of 10%.

In previous years, the course had off-road and tarmac sections. However, the roads are now fully paved, so this year’s race will be run fully on tarmac. So, this year we won’t get to see Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima shifting half of the mountain on spectators as he attempts to break the overall fastest time of 9:51.278, which he set last year in breaking his own 2007 record. Mad.

Tajima will be racing in the Unlimited class. Other classes include Open Wheel, Mini Sprint, Super Stock Car, Pro Trucks, Pikes Peak Open, Time Attack 4WD, Time Attack 2WD, HPSS (High Performance Showroom Stock), Exhibition Car/Truck, Vintage (RMVR) and Vintage Modified (RMVR). Motorcycles and quads will also have its separate race covering 11 classes.

And then, there is the Electric class – the reason why we are at Pikes Peak this coming weekend. You see, Mitsubishi has decided to race their electric car, the stock i-MiEV and i-MiEV Evolution and they have invited us along to witness the event. Beccy Gordon and Hiroshi Masuoka are the drivers chosen by Mitsubishi to ‘race to the clouds’.

It will be interesting to see how electric cars fare against the traditional, combustion-engine counterparts. And, as the car climbs higher, how will the cars and driver fare in the thin air? Will the electric cars even make it to the top? Do they have enough power in reserve?

For all the answers and more, do stay tuned through the weekend as we bring you on-location reports. We’re lining up a few things, including interviews with drivers and engineers, which will culminate on race day.