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Rhys Millen has won the 2012 Pikes Peak Hill Climb in a new record time of 9min46.164, driving the same heavily-modified Hyundai Genesis Coupé that set the previous benchmark in 2011 with his father Rod at the wheel.
The steep and twisty 19.9km scenic drive to the top of Pikes Peak, 4302m above sea level in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado had been freshly tarred all the way to the top ahead of this year's contest, so the car had to be extensively revised.
The Genesis was fitted with an entirely new aero package for this year's Hill Climb, to make the most of the extra grip and higher average speeds on the final (previously gravel) section of the course.
The front splitter was redesigned for more strength.
A bigger rear wing gave more downforce and a wider rear body provided more stability.
Also, not having to contend with the final gravel section meant that super-sticky, staggered fitment Hankook F200 racing slicks on special HRE lightweight rims could be used.
The car's V6 engine was treated to a bigger Garrett GTX3582 turbocharger, boosting output to 522kW and 948Nm. The brake callipers were upgraded for extra thermal capacity, and extra cooling ducts were fitted to improve cooling at the summit's extreme altitudes.
The team went through the whole car, looking for ways to save weight, and the suspension was set up to suit Millen’s driving style, which is considerably more sideways than his father's.
Millen said: “Breaking the 10-minute barrier is something I've always wanted to do and this year it really came together.
“We were able to set up the car for extra downforce and really use the extra traction provided by the new all-tar surface to shave a few tenths from virtually every corner.”