Home / Auto News / News article: Report: Rhys Millen Races Hyundai Genesis Coupe to Pikes Peak World Record - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Jul 20 2009, 8:01 AM

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Hyundai continues defy doubters, setting a new world record at the world-famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb in a race-prepped Genesis Coupe. Driver Rhys Millen piloted his Rhys Millen Racing Red Bull Hyundai Genesis Coupe drift car to a time of 12:09.397 in the rear-wheel drive Time Attack Class, beating his nearest competitor by 1 minute, 23 seconds and besting even his own previous time by 22 seconds.

“Driving the Genesis Coupe for the first time at Pikes Peak in front of thousands of fans is an amazing experience,” said Millen. “Nothing compares to the pressure and thrill of Pikes Peak while competing against yourself for the record.”

Millen also said the Genesis Coupe performed superbly, even though by the summit the tires were worn down to their steel belts.

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb, which takes place annually on Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado, starts at an elevation of 9,300 feet and finishes at an elevation of 14,110 feet – where the air is so think drivers’ reaction times begin to slow and their race car engines lose 30 percent of their power. Drivers drift around 156 corners, nearly missing guard rails and trees, while avoiding cliffs with 2,000-foot drop-offs.

2009 marks the 87th annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the second-oldest motorsports event in America, second only to the Indianapolis 500.

GALLERY: Rhys Millen Racing Red Bull Hyundai Genesis Coupe

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Official release after the jump:

RED BULL HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE AND RHYS MILLEN SET WORLD RECORD TO TAKE PIKES PEAK TIME ATTACK TITLE

 

 

World Champion Driver Rhys Millen Claims Ninth Mountain Win

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 19, 2009 – The 87th Annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has a new world record holder today – the Rhys Millen Racing Red Bull Hyundai Genesis Coupe. World Champion driver Rhys Millen piloted the Genesis Coupe to his ninth overall class title, breaking one of his two world records in 17 trips to the Hill Climb.

“Driving the Genesis Coupe for the first time at Pikes Peak in front of thousands of fans is an amazing experience,” said Millen. “Nothing compares to the pressure and thrill of Pikes Peak while competing against yourself for the record.”

Millen set the record time of 12 minutes, 9 seconds (12:09.397) more than 1 minute and 23 seconds faster than his nearest competitor in the rear-wheel-drive Time Attack Class. At the finish line on the summit of Pikes Peak, Millen reported that the car that never skipped a beat, no matter how hard he challenged the diverse terrain and high altitude, and finished with both rear tires down to steel belts. Millen utilized the Genesis Coupe’s rear-drive layout to its full potential, power-sliding his Genesis Coupe mere inches away from guard rails, trees and 2,000-foot cliffs, while besting his own record of 12 minutes, 31.61 seconds by 22 seconds.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motor sports race in America, second only to the Indianapolis 500, and a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs. First run in 1916, this year marks the 87th running of the thrilling “Race to the Clouds.”

The race is run on a course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the oxygen-depleted 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak. As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength. The thin air also robs engines of up to 30 percent of their power at the summit. It’s a true test of endurance for competitors and vehicles.

This year the race has 11 classes and features a variety of automotive, semi-truck, exhibition, open wheel, super stock car, pro truck and motorcycle classes with a field approaching 200 competitors.

With more than 16 years of racing experience, Rhys Millen has established himself as one of the premier rally/drifting drivers in North America. Born in New Zealand in 1972, Rhys is the son of famed rally and off-road racer Rod Millen. Rhys joined Rod in the U.S. as a teenager and soon afterwards established himself as racer by taking first at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in the Open Division and winning Rookie of the Year. He won the Formula Drift championship in 2005 and the Red Bull Drifting World Championship in 2008.

Millen and his team are an ideal match to help launch Hyundai’s motorsports effort with the Genesis Coupe. Millen’s driving credentials include movie stunts, multiple drifting championships, a Pikes Peak world record and his recent New Year’s Eve Las Vegas truck flip. But behind Millen’s success in the driver’s seat is a full team of engineers and fabricators that know how to maximize the potential of a race car.

Millen had his first opportunity to test drive the Genesis Coupe’s performance credentials when he performed precision driving for the car’s debut advertising campaign airing during Super Bowl XLIII. Millen flogged a Genesis Coupe for a full three days during the filming process at Road Atlanta racetrack, and the car never stopped asking for more.