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Rare Rod Millen Pikes Peak Toyota Celica footage

By Scott Newman, 23 Jan 2017 Features

Watch this 630kW record-setting Celica in action

Rare Rod Millen Pikes Peak Toyota Celica footage

You've probably heard of this car, and if you haven't, you should have.

Rod Millen's wild Pikes Peak Celica is one of Toyota's most iconic race cars, however until very recently actually seeing it in action in its intended environment has been almost impossible.

Thankfully, YouTube has allowed all manner of archival motorsport footage to surface, including annual highlights from Pikes Peak, however the rare video above, unlisted on YouTube, gives us one of the best looks at Millen's monster in action.

Of course, calling it a Celica is stretching the truth a little. In reality it's a tube frame chassis covered in a Celica-shaped one-piece carbon fibre body with leftover aero parts from Dan Gurney's All American Racing Formula 1 operation.

It weighed just 885kg and was powered by a 633kW 2.1-litre 3S-GTE turbocharged four-cylinder, an engine which appeared in everything from Toyota's IMSA and Le Mans prototypes to the famous Castrol-liviered Toyota Supra JGTC car.

It was built to dominante the famous US hillclimb, which is exactly what it did. On its debut in 1994 Millen smashed the existing record by almost 40 seconds to set a time of 10min04.06sec.

Millen and the Celica would win twice more in 1996 and 1997 but was unable to beat that original time, though he came close in '97 with a time of 10min04.54sec. Set when Pikes Peak was still completely unpaved, the record will stand forever.

Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima would finally break Millen's mark in 2007, but by then the course was partially paved before becoming all-tarmac in 2012, allowing Sebastien Loeb to set a stunning 8min13.878 time in 2013. 

Millen followed the Celica with an even wilder mid-engined Toyota Tacoma, which carried over the Celica's engine and drivetrain but with much more sophisticated suspension geometry. You can see it in action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed above.

However, despite two further wins at the mountain in 1998 and 1999, the Tacoma was unable to beat the Celica's record, its best time of 10min07.7sec coming in 1998.