Mitsubishi recently returned to motorsport with an attempt at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, but even if its cars fail to finish this year, the Japanese carmaker known for legendary rally cars will still get plenty of visibility.
For the 2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Mitsubishi will be supplying officials with Lancer Evolution and Outlander safety cars.
Other than the flashing lights and red-and-white paint schemes (which, by the way, make the cars look pretty badass) Mitsubishi wasn’t clear about how the vehicles were modified, or what they would actually be doing.
The Evo and Outlander apparently got some love from performance parts manufacturers such as BBS, Cobb Tuning, AEM, and DC Sports, but the carmaker did not reveal the specific modifications.
Safety or pace cars are a common fixture in NASCAR, Formula One, and other forms of track racing, but they don’t serve much of a purpose in rallies and hill climbs like Pikes Peak.
Ordinarily, a safety car is used to set the pace before the green flag drops, and to drive out in front of the pack of racecars to slow them down in the event of a crash or other safety issues.
At Pikes Peak, though, racers head up the mountain one at a time, trying to make it to the top faster than anyone else. The course is 12.42 miles long and includes 156 corners, some taking drivers near the edge of sheer cliffs. The finish line is three miles above sea level.
With 291 horsepower and a sophisticated all-wheel drive system, the Lancer Evo would be perfect for getting race officials to any spot on the course in a hurry, should the need arise. Both cars will probably spend most of the race ferrying people around the paddock and looking pretty.
Mitsubishi will also again be campaigning its i-MiEV Evolution electric racers at Pikes Peak this year. The improved Evolution II model will reportedly feature “high density” lithium-ion batteries, and a pavement-shredding 536 hp.
Look for many Mitsubishis at the 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 30.