The world’s ‘other’ great hill climb outside of Pikes Peak is set to return on April 18. Here’s what to look forward to:
1. It’s been eight long years since New Zealand’s last Race To The Sky was held and it’s great to have some of the world’s ballsiest drivers and their insane bewinged machinery return to the Cardrona Valley course.
2. Since the last running, back in 2007, the blue riband Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the US has gone from a full gravel course to being sealed with Tarmac. And, thus, Race To The Sky is now the world’s longest and wildest full-gravel hill climb course.
3. How long? The course contains a daunting 135 corners and climbs from 450m to 1500m in elevation, and yet start-to-finish measures just 14.5km.
4. The two-day event will see around 100 competitors launch themselves up the Cardrona Valley course in a wide variety of machinery, including cars, motorcycles, buggies and quad bikes.
5. Japan’s 64-year-old Japanese legend Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima holds the most outright wins – a total of eight – and returns this year to reclaim the title in perhaps the world’s wildest Toyota 86…
6. …Tajima’s ‘Super 86’ is steel spaceframed, has carbonfibre bodywork and massive aero enhancements. The mere 1080kg all-paw hill climb special boasts almost 500kW from its mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V6.
7. Monster’s time of 1min 1.17sec, set in 2006, is the current course record and the be-all end-all time to beat.
8. The only year Monster competed and didn’t win was when he was beaten by the late great NZ rally champ Possum Bourne, who beat the Japanese legend back in 2001 in an ex-World Rally Championship WRX treated to an extreme hill climb makeover.
9. This year, former WRC legend Alistair McRae will compete in Race To The Sky in Bourne’s old outright-winning Subaru, which is touted to be outputting a colossal 560kW.
10. Scot Tony Quinn, the man spearheading the revival of Race To The Sky, is said to be preparing a bespoke sub-one-tonne race car for the event capable of producing an astonishing 640kW and around 1000kg of downforce at 200km/h in the pursuit of capturing the quickest time in history.
11. With its convenient proximity to Oz, the Race To The Sky takes place in New Zealand on April 18 and 19. For more details check out racetothesky.co.nz
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