Year after year a wide variety of machines drive up the Pikes Peak mountain in the United States, chasing the record of 10 minutes and 4 seconds set by Rod Millen in 1994. The annual event is probably the most evocative off-road races and without a doubt the most important hillclimb of the year. The Toyota racer's record was finally broken in 2007 with Suzuki Motorsport chief Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima completing the 19.87 km run in 10 minutes 1.408 seconds. His weapon of choice was a custom built spaceframe racer with a Suzuki XL7 silhouette body.
Built to the unlimited class specifications, the XL7 'Pikes Peak' Special uses a steel spaceframe chassis with double wishbones all around. Mounted amidships is a twin Turbocharged V6 engine that produces a staggering 1000 bhp and 1000 Nm. That massive amount of power is transferred to all four wheels through a sequential six speed gearbox. Unlike most other rally cars, the Pikes Peak cars need some serious downforce, to keep the powerful machines on the track at speeds of over 200 km/h. Bearing some resemblence to the recently launched XL7 road car, Monster Tajima's Suzuki sports some of the biggest dive planes and wings ever fitted to a racing car.
Suzuki debuted in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb all the way back in 1989 with a very wild twin engined special. The cars have changed many times, but the driver remained the same; Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima. Before the 2007 edition, he won the legendary hillclimb five times already. He has also successfully conquered the Race to the Sky in New Zealand, which has been now been nick-named 'Tajima Mountain' in his honour. As he had done in the year before, he won both major hillclimb races in 2007.
While 'Monster' Tajima has finally broken the record, he will most certainly join the many other competitors next year. His new goal will no doubt be to break the 10 minutes barrier.