- Hyundai will back a two-car effort by Rhys Millen in the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
- Millen is the reigning champion of the "race to the clouds" near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- He won last year's race in a modified production 2012 Hyundai Genesis coupe.
COSTA MESA, California — Rhys Millen, who set a record in winning last year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in a modified production 2012 Hyundai Genesis coupe, will defend his title in the "race to the clouds" this year driving a factory-supported, purpose-built unlimited class entry.
Hyundai announced the plan Monday to back Millen's effort in a lightweight, 900-horsepower racing vehicle outfitted with a body designed to loosely resemble the production Genesis coupe.
Powertrain components from Hyundai's Lambda engine family will be used, along with production components such as block, cylinder heads and other parts.
The modified production car that Millen drove in the Attack division last year, setting an event record of nine minutes, 46.16 seconds, will be entered as part of a two-car team. The driver of the Attack entry was not named.
"Last year's all-time world record, set by Millen in the production-based Genesis Coupe, was a defining milestone in Hyundai's quest to build thrilling and durable rear-drive performance vehicles that are as capable on the road as they are in the rigors of competitive motorsport," said Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America.
Last year's race was postponed from its normal midsummer date to August because of wildfires that raged in the Colorado Springs area as race time approached. The 90th edition of the historic race, first staged in 1916, was held for the first time on a fully paved course.
This year's race is scheduled for June 30. The course covers 12.42 miles, with 156 turns and an elevation change of nearly a mile (4,720 feet).
Even though the dirt-gravel portion near the summit has been covered with pavement, it remains treacherous. Last year's race featured a spectacular tumble off a sharp turn and down a steep embankment by rookie Jeremy Foley, flipping a dozen or more times downhill at the portion of the course nicknamed Devil's Playground.
Veteran Paul Dallenbach, a six-time winner of the race, was unhurt when his racecar plunged off course into a stand of trees at approximately 130 mph at a lower elevation.
Edmunds says: Millen's achievement last year in the production Genesis whets the appetite about how fast he may be able to go in a purpose-built machine with some of the same DNA as the 2012 winner.