Mitsubishi goes for the EV racing win

So near, and yet so far. That’s probably how the crew over at Mitsubishi felt when the team placed second in the Electric Vehicle category at the 2012 Pikes PeakInternational Hill Climb (PPIHC).

Well, the automaker that gave us the Lancer Evo is rallying for another try at this year’s competition.

The PPIHC, also known as the “Race to the Clouds,” is a grueling 14,000-plus-foot trek up Pikes Peak in Colorado. Elevation rapidly escalates over 4,700 feet during the event, pushing vehicles to the limit with differing atmospheric pressure, temperature and weather.

Image courtesy of Mitsubishi

The 2013 race, which begins in June, will be the second year participating for Mitsubishi, which is also a sponsor. This year, it has entered two MiEV Evolution II electric vehicle prototypes into the competition. As with last year’s MiEV Evolution prototype, these MiEV Evolution II EVs will be based off the automaker’s production vehicles and utilizes special electric motors and high-capacity batteries developed by supplies like Meidensha and LEJ. The motor can blast 400 kilowatts, equivalent to over 530 horsepower. One of the big changes this year is the addition of the company’s signature Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel drive system to improve the race car’s handling and performance.

Hiroshi Masuoka, who drove the Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution, returns behind the wheel for this year’s race. Joining him will be Greg Tracy, six-time motorcycle champion at the PPIHC. Says Masuoka, “We are able to tackle Pikes Peak a second time thanks to the support of our many partner companies. We were able to come up with a new and improved MiEV Evolution II based on the precious data and know-how we gained from last year’s race. We welcome Greg Tracy as our teammate. With his wealth of motorsport experience, we will give it our all for a one-two finish.”

Toyota won last year’s contest with its TMG EV P002 sports car, where it completed the climb in 10 minutes 15.380 seconds. And the automaker plans to defend its title this year against all competitors like Mitsubishi. States Claudia Brasse of Toyota, “The TMG EV P002 has a perfect history of three records from three attempts, none of which have been beaten, so we have high standards to maintain.”

The PPIHC, which had its first run back in 1916, is the second oldest motorsport here in the U.S. following the Indy 500.

* Joel Arellano, EarthTechling