Father-and-son racing duo Rod and Rhys Millen are looking to maintain the family tradition and break a few more records at the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. With five overall race wins and eight class wins under his belt, Rod Millen is considered Pikes Peak royalty by many. But having last competed in the famed hill climb in 2000, 60-year-old Millen isn’t hoping for another overall win (and record) this year; that task is left to his son, Rhys, who will again drive the Red Bull-sponsored Hyundai Genesis RMR PM580 that took on last year’s climb.
Millen the younger, who’s made a name for himself in professional drifting competition and by setting a class record at Pikes Peak in 2009, now runs his own racing outfit called Rhys Millen Racing (RMR). In collaboration with Hyundai for the last few years, RMR has helped to develop the Korean automaker’s cars for racing use and continues to help the brand gain exposure in motorsports. Millen’s most recent creation, the Le Mans Prototype-like PM580, was built to shatter the record at Pikes Peak last year in the Unlimited class. Although the Millens’ eternal rival, Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, still holds the record at 10:01.408, Rhys Millen hopes to claim victory at this year’s race and finally break the 10-minute barrier at the wheel of the PM580. Upgrades to the car, including an electric power steering system out of the Hyundai Sonata, a new clutch-plate type differential, and soft-compound tires with larger contact patches, will likely help it achieve that feat. But the thing that will most facilitate a sub-10-minute record time will be the new tarmac portions of the course. With less unpaved road to contend with, competitors could shave seconds off their times.
While Rhys Millen attempts to break the overall course record, his father will compete in the Time Attack 2WD class in an updated version of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe he set a class record in two years ago. With an engine block, head and valvetrain based on Hyundai’s Lambda family of V-6 engines, the Genesis Coupe Pikes Peak racer is much closer to a production model than the PM580. Nevertheless, Millen the senior will attempt to reclaim the class record from Jeff Zwart, who set a new best time last year in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
As America’s second oldest racing event, behind the 100-year-old Indy 500, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the most respected races in the world. With a history of successes at that race, both competitors hope to break records in their respective classes and further cement the Millen family name in the lore and history of Pikes Peak.
Update: See below for new photos of the Millens gearing up for a practice run at Pikes Peak
Source: Colorado Springs Sports Corporation