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Rhys Millen Racing Launches Double-Edged Millen Family Assault On Pikes Peak Hill Climb

2011.05.25 00:00:00 No. 1125
Rhys millen racing launches double-edged millen family
ASSAult on Pikes peak hill climb

Drivers Rhys Millen and former Pikes Peak world record holder Rod Millen will compete in both the unlimited and time attack production 2WD classes
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., May 25, 2011 – Hyundai, Red Bull, and Rhys Millen Racing will attempt to set multiple world records at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill climb in June. Rhys Millen will compete in the unlimited class with the Hyundai-powered RMR PM580 purpose-built tube-framed race car, while Rhys’ father, Rod Millen, will compete in the 2WD production class with the Genesis Coupe race car. Both race cars use production engine blocks, heads, valvetrain from the Hyundai-developed Lambda V6 engine family as core building blocks for their phenomenal race-worthy performance and durability.

   Rhys formerly set a world record in the Genesis Coupe for the production-based 2WD class in 2009. The hill climb course was revised with significant increases in the ratio of tarmac to dirt for 2010, effectively reducing the time to the summit for all competitors. “Breaking into the 9’s has been a dream of mine for the last 10 years,” said Rhys Millen, professional race driver and founder of Rhys Millen Racing. “With the precise technical adjustments we made to the PM580 this year, coupled with the increase in tarmac near the course summit, the prospect of another world record is better than ever. We plan on being the fastest car up the hill and getting the world record back in the family name, the Millen name.”


  For 2011, Rod Millen will join Rhys for the time attack up Pikes Peak in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe developed by Rhys Millen Racing. Rod will compete in the production-based 2WD class, the same class world record held by Rhys in the Genesis Coupe only two years ago.

    “I didn’t have to look far for the caliber of driver I wanted for the Genesis” said Rhys. “Over the Christmas holiday, while exchanging gifts, I asked my father what he thought about taking the Genesis Coupe to the summit once again. His smile told me all I needed to know.” Rod Millen is also a former Pikes Peak world record holder of some 13 years, from 1994 to 2007. His former world record time was 10:04.06; but technology improvements and course changes that include an increase in the ratio of tarmac to dirt now make finishes in the 9-minute realm possible. “The possibility of world records in two unique classes makes my father and I really excited about the team’s prospects for this year,” said Rhys.


  For 2011, the team has made a number of technical improvements to the PM580 racecar to further maximize its world-beating potential. The differential type was changed from a gear-driven torsen type to a clutch-plate type, resulting in more consistent transitional characteristics accelerating out of corners. The power steering unit was replaced by an OEM Hyundai Sonata motor-driven unit that provides the ideal amount of boost and precision. Transmission calibrations were refined with new sensors and a tuned software package. Dampers were dynographed to be more precisely matched to final spring rates for optimal precision and control. The tires, provided by Hankook, have larger contact patches and offer a softer racing compound appropriate for the increased tarmac on the course.

Finally, numerous aerodynamic improvements were made to produce an even corner-balancing effect at speed, with a new front splitter, rear wing, and optimized intercooler scoop.


  Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motorsports race in America, second only to the Indianapolis 500, and a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs. First run in 1916, this year marks the 89th running of the thrilling “Race to the Clouds.” The race is run on a course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the oxygen-starved 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak. As drivers and their race cars approach the summit, the steady reduction in oxygen density reduces engine power potential and can dull critical driver reflexes. The thin air continues to push man and machine to their limits with every turn of the course. It is estimated the oxygen levels at the summit reduce engine power up to 30 percent, making powerful forced induction technology critical for the quickest competitors. Further, Pikes Peak is a natural closed course racing circuit, with wind, weather and terrain changing constantly, elevating required skill and experience levels and making the final outcome uncertain until the last competitor crosses the checkered flag.


  With more than 17 years of racing experience, Rhys Millen has established himself as one of the premier rally and drifting drivers in North America. Born in New Zealand in 1972, Rhys is the son of famed rally and off-road racer Rod Millen. Rhys joined Rod in the U.S. as a teenager and soon afterwards established himself as a racer by taking first place at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in the Open Division and winning Rookie of the Year. He won the Formula Drift championship in 2005 and the Red Bull Drifting World Championship in 2008.

   Millen and his team are an ideal match to help bolster Hyundai’s increasing motorsports effort with the Genesis Coupe and Veloster. Millen’s driving credentials include movie stunts, multiple drifting championships, a 2009 Pikes Peak world record and an outrageous New Year’s Eve Las Vegas truck flip. As always, Millen’s success in the driver’s seat is fully supported by a team of talented engineers, technicians and fabricators that know how to maximize every nuance of a world class race car.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile power train warranty, 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance and the Hyundai Trade-in Value Guarantee. 

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