Toyota Motorsport Group GmbH (TMG) announced today that their assault on Pikes Peak this year will be largely based around the TMG EV P001 that took the electric Nürburgring Nordschleife record last year. The Radical-based car completed the iconic German course in 7 minutes 47.794 seconds back in August 2011 but suffered from overheating issues which prevented it from making any more headway into the record – but that won’t stop them this time. TMG have invested a considerable amount of time in improving the drivetrain to allow it to cope with the longer and far more gruelling Pikes Peak hill climb, which sees competitors ascend 4721 feet along 20km of twisting mountain road.
There are no details yet as to the exact output of the car, but TMG are retaining EVO Motors as a technical partner and are sticking with the ceramic lithium battery chemistry that powered the previous incarnation. With 280kw on tap it was no slouch, but I get the feeling that they have something even more impressive up their sleeves through lessons learned at the ‘Ring. The car will be piloted by Japanese rally driver Fumio Nutahara, a veteran of the WRC circuit since 1999 and winner at the Monte Carlo rally in 2006, and as the new course is entirely tarmac for the first time he should be able to make full use of the immense torque from those motors.
But why Pikes Peak? According to their spokesperson TMG were so impressed with their performance in Germany that it has spurred them on to invest more time and effort in designing high performance electric powertrains. Even better, they will also apparently be taking their electric racing expertise to other series and are using Pikes Peak as a stepping stone for more high profile projects in future. You only have to look at the TS030 to know that Toyota are fully committed to alternative propulsion in motorsport, and I believe companies that test and showcase hybrid or electric drive on the track will be the winners in the showrooms in the coming years.