Preview: Monster Tajima sets out to save the planet by racing to the clouds at Pikes Peak

Later today the 90th running of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb will get underway and if you’re a seasoned observer, there’s one driver that you’ll be paying particular attention to. Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima.

Monster, as he’s affectionately known has been competing at Pikes Peak for more than 20 years and in 2011 become the first driver to break the ’10 minute barrier’ with a time of 9:51.278.

For his 2012 ascent he’s driving a battery-powered racer for Team APEV (Association for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles). The Monster Sport E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special is powered purely by electricity motors, with a sleek, slender cockpit looking remarkably like that of a fighter jet.

Tajima explains his reason for the switch to an EV racer in 2012, “I will be entering this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with my new electric race car. The reason I made this change is that I would like to help save our beautiful planet earth for our children.”

The primary goal of APEV is to reduce CO2 emissions and other harmful greenhouse gases by promoting cleaner electric vehicles (EV) all over the world. “My intention here is to break my own record with this EV hill climb car and show the world that EVs can be radical and very, very fast”, said Tajima.

The Monster Sport E-RUNNER has been setting some impressive times over the last few days of practice and the 62-year old Japanese driver is confident of his first race in the car, “It’s very cold right now, but last year was even colder, so I’m happy with the current conditions.”

In theory, electric vehicles are more resilient to changes in temperature and altitude than their petrol-powered counterparts, as they do not rely upon the density of air in the internal combustion process.

As he looks towards the start of the race Tajima summarised the last three days of practice, “The car is fantastic because it is not loud, there is no vibration, and the handling is fantastic, so it’s like driving a five-star hotel!”

We wish Monster and the rest of his competitors a safe and successful race to the clouds.

Follow: you can keep track of Tajima’s progress at the Team APEV website.

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