Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima was the defending race winner coming into the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb having set the overall record last year while the course was still part tarmac and part gravel. 2012 marks the first year where the entire course has been paved. Monster and Team APEV of Japan built a new car called the E-Runner which is tarmac specific and electric powered. Though Team APEV did the engineering and fabrication on the E-Runner, Monster Tajima promotes the use of electric race cars in Japan with his own EV company called Tajima Natural Energy. Monster qualified first in the EV category by a large margin using a mixed gravel and tarmac suspension setup. Tajima had anticipated that a lot of dirt from the side of the track would be dragged onto the road surface but changed to a tarmac specific setup when he saw the course stayed clean during practice. Many people thought he would set the new overall record in an electric vehicle. Here is video of his qualifying run from Day 1 of practice on the lower section of the course:
This is footage from the second day of practice on the middle section of the course:
Unfortunately Monster’s new overall record was not meant to be this year. He had to pull off of the course after about a mile on race day when his electric motor failed. Tajima says to watch out for him next year.
Source: GoPro on YouTube