The 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is well underway with this year’s event gathering enormous media attention with nine-time WRC champion Sebastian Loeb competing in a purpose built Peugeot 208 T16.
The Peugeot team, which consists of more than 60 people, has been undertaking a massive task to ensure victory at Sunday’s race, but to also set a record time that will remain unbeatable for years to come.
Drifting champion and last year’s Pikes Peak winner Rhys Millen, who has been coming to the famous hill climb since 1992, is racing in his new Hyundai RMR PM580-T but readily admits that beating Loeb will be extremely challenging.
“The sheer quantity of dollars thrown at their effort has never been seen before and to parallel that effort I would have to walk into Hyundai and say I want to build an all-wheel drive car and develop it, I need to ask for five million dollars and that ain’t gonna happen” Millen told CarAdvice.
Millen believes that Sebastian’s time will become an unbeatable benchmark if the French team has its way on Sunday. Asked if he could beat Loeb:
“Not on this road, not in this car. If they have a good run on Sunday you will never see that record fall again.”
Though he is expecting to break into the nine-minute barrier for the first time, Millen is well aware that his competition is in a different league.
“Respectfully I understand their approach, if I could get that support and get that program, you would want that program. I have no negatives towards it, I think it’s incredible to watch the workmanship, but their engines are from the 2005 LeMans program… it’s an incredible car. It’s a four-wheel drive Formula 1 car.”
Speaking of the race’s future, Millen is cautious as he points out the difficulty others will face in attempting to beat Loeb’s record, suggesting that the ability for other manufacturers to compete in the unlimited division is going to suffer as a result of Peugeot’s efforts this year.
Regardless of Loeb’s efforts this weekend, Rhys Millen is expected to win the 2WD category in his Hyundai and given the event’s unpredictable nature, may still have a shot at the outright title.
The 2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb will get underway this Sunday and CarAdvice will bring you full coverage from Colorado as the event unfolds.