Toyota returns to defend Pikes Peak win with an upgraded version of its P002 EV racer

Toyota EV P002

Last year, Toyota took first in the electric car class and sixth overall at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb  – and it’s keen to defend its title.

This year, Toyota has hired Rod Millen, father of Rhys Millen, to pilot its imporved P002 up the mountain.

The Millens stand as racing royalty. Hailing from New Zealand, both Rod and Rhys have set many records over the years. Rhys, however, currently holds the run record at Pikes Peak.

Toyota isn’t taking this year lying down. It’s sent its all-electric race car to “Salisbury, North Carolina, where TOYOTA Racing Development U.S.A. Inc. (TRD USA) will perform aerodynamic upgrades to the Radical-based chassis as well as track testing,” according to a Toyota press release.

A rear-mounted 42-kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack can be charged easily off the A/C power grid and sends power to an improved electric motor. The speed and torque of the electric motor have been increased while the powertrain’s operation has been tuned to better suit the Pikes Peak climb.

We’re excited to see the P002 perform this year. With a limited top speed of “only” 143mph for improved range, the electric Toyota racer should make quite a showing. The entire route to the top is paved now, so there’s no more dramatic dirt drifting action as there has been for decades previous, but it does allow carmakers to focus their entrees on track handling and speed.

The 2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb is scheduled for June 30 so check back later next month for results and any other developments.

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