The electric class for this year’s “Race to the Clouds,” which takes place July 8, promises to be quite interesting, with big-name drivers Beccy Gordon and Hiroshi Matuoka driving two different versions of the Mitsubishi i, and Pikes Peak legend Nobuhiro Tajima driving Team APEV’s custom EV.
The latest addition to the field is a converted 1995 BMW M3 from California conversion shop EV West. The team replaced the original 240-hp inline six-cylinder engine with a NetGain DC electric motor and Evnetics Soliton Shiva motor controller that’s rumored to pack some 400 hp – more than a 2012 M3’s 4-liter V8.
EV West continues work on the car, so it’s anybody’s guess what the final specs will be on race day, and who will be behind the wheel.
[Updated 05-17-12 3:00PM EST : Press Release]
NASCAR Vet Boris Said will Race Electric Vehicle at Pikes Peak
Colorado Springs, May 17———-All of a sudden, the Electric auto division at the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is challenging the history-rich Unlimited division for attention.
Pikes Peak record-holder Nobuhiro Tajima, who has won six straight Unlimited crowns as King of the Mountain, has moved to the Electric division this year after becoming the first driver to crack the Peak’s elusive ten minute barrier last summer.
The fabled Japanese driver drove his 910-horsepower GoPro Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special up the 12.42 mile course to the 14,110-foot summit in 9:51.278, this event’s version of the breaking the four-minute mile by Roger Bannister on May 6, 1954 at Iffley Road in Oxford.
The latest entry in the Electric field is veteran NASCAR driver Boris Said (Carlsbad, CA), who has eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top ten finishes and the title at the 2010 NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Montreal.
Said will drive EV West’s 1995 BMW M3 on the Peak July 8 for co-founder Michael Bream, who is thrilled with the prospect of challenging the Peak and Tajima.
“When building high performance cars, the natural evolution is motorsport and the same is true with electric,” says Bream. “It’s why we are racing at Pikes Peak this summer.” EV West converts existing road cars to high performance electric drive and makes a proprietary line of parts for those wishing to perform the conversions.
Said’s decision to come to Pikes Peak was a natural for the veteran.
“It’s my 25th year of racing, and I’m fortunate to have competed at the 24 Hours of Daytona, Sebring, Bathurst, 24 Hours of Nurburgring, the Daytona 500, Baja 1000, and Circuit de Spa, but never on Pikes Peak, which is on my bucket list,” he says. “Electric cars were the first ones ever built, and once the infrastructure is in place, thing will change again.
Said joins the Electrica field that now includes Tajima, defending class champion Ikuo Hanawa of Japan, Hiroshi Masuoka (driving the Mitsubishi i-MiEV), a famed Japanese driver who has tackled Dakar 21 times, winning it in 2002 and 2003, Japanese rally car ace and 2006 Monte Carlo rally winner Fumio Nutahara, Beccy Gordon, also driving a Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the sister of NASCAR and Indy 500 star Robby Gordon, and Elias Anderson of Austin, Texas, in an HCE Lightning XP12.
Source: EV West
Image: EV West