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Event Report

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 100th Anniversary: Kazunori Yamauchi Drives the New NSX Pace Car!

Racing to the sky! On 26 June at Pikes Peak in Colorado, US, the race final for the 94th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2016 (PPIHC) was held with Kazunori Yamauchi, Gran Turismo series Producer, leading the race as the pace car driver. Here are some scenes from the spectacular event.

The very first Pikes Peak International Hill Climb took place in 1916, making this year its centennial anniversary. The photo above is the entry point to the paddock area and the start line is 500 metres ahead.

The toll booth of the Pikes Peak summit. The course starts beyond this booth.
The jagged crests of the mountain are visible from the start line.
7:40 AM on the fateful day. The pace cars initiating the start of the final race take off. The NSX in the lead is driven by Kazunori Yamauchi, while the Acura MDX and TLX behind are driven by Pikes Peak legends Randy Schranz and Leonard Vahsholtz.
Kazunori Yamauchi getting into the NSX.
The green flag is displayed and the pace cars take off. This marks the start of the race final.
Though it was a sunny race day, the course conditions were far from perfect with rain from the previous night making the road dusty and forming puddles near the summit. However, Yamauchi took the all-new NSX armed with the latest devices such as the SH-AWD and completed the 19.9 km run up an elevation of 4301 m.
Meanwhile there were 3 all-new NSX’s that participated in the race event. One of these cars was a prototype running all 4 wheels with 4 independent motors and with Japanese driver Tetsuya Yamano at the wheel, the car succeeded in completing the race in 3rd place overall. Of the remaining two, one of the cars also won the Time Attack 2 Class.
Though the race is a traditional hill climb time attack, the race is difficult for the drivers as the areas that can be driven during practice and qualifying are limited and the full course can only be run in the final race. At the paddocks there is a very warm and comforting atmosphere, and you can see the entrants and organisers talking amongst each other like friends.
At Pikes Peak, cars are not the only participants. There are motorcycles, sidecars and even 4 wheel buggies.
This Pennzoil coloured Toyota Celica is a legendary car which participated in 1994 and set a record that remained unbroken for 13 years.
This is the EV of 'Monster' Tajima, the Japanese driver who has tallied 10 victories at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb events. This year, Mr. Tajima became the first Japanese driver in history to enter the Pikes Peak Hall of Fame. Congratulations!
And this year’s overall victory went to Romain Dumas (8 minutes and 51.445 seconds), making the challenge in a custom car powered by a 3.5 litre twin turbo from an LMP2 machine. Dumas actually came from the podium of the Le Mans 24 Hour race in the previous weekend straight to the podium of this historic race.