Former winner and record holder Rhys Millen will return to the “Race to the clouds for this weekend’s 93rd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a one-megawatt electric racecar developed by Drive eO. The 42-year-old Millen aims to become the first overall winner with an electric vehicle.
“I’m very pleased that Drive eO offers me my first electric racecar experience at Pikes Peak,” said Millen. “Drive eO brings the future into the present with the most capable vehicle ever to grace Pikes Peak that has the opportunity to win overall. I have full confidence in the team that we will succeed. If the numbers that are on paper equate to real world numbers, this vehicle – in ideal conditions – should be capable of a race time below nine minutes.”
New Zealand native Millen, a highly sought after performance driver and movie stunt driver, is taking part in the event as part of his wide-ranging role as a brand ambassador for Pennzoil, which has also included drifting a Dodge Challenger Hellcat for the recent Pennzoil action-packed mini-film “Airlift Drift”. Rhys hopes to emulate the success that his father, Rod Millen, had while also racing at Pikes Peak with the support of Pennzoil back in 1989, when he won the Class C division.
The eO PP03 produces 1020 kW (1367hp) peak power thanks to a 50 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and six YASA-400 electric motors with in-house developed eO controllers. The all-electric vehicle was assembled by Drive eO, a Latvian engineering company specializing in the design and manufacture of electric and hybrid electric prototype vehicles. The company was the first to complete the demanding Dakar Rally with a hybrid electric vehicle and has participated with all-electric racecars in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb twice.
Kristaps Dambis, project director at Drive eO, said: “We are very proud to announce Rhys as our driver. It was great to see him very excited straight away and his involvement in the project has benefited us massively. He’s brought his experience of 4WD race car preparation and setup and also insider knowledge of Pikes Peak peculiarities. He is taking the project very seriously and is coming up with useful ideas to beat the competition this year. Overall it is certainly a great acknowledgement of our past work that Rhys puts his faith in our team to develop a race-winning car!”
Practice runs for this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb begin Tuesday, with the race set for Sunday, June 28.