One of the most legendary Pikes Peak machines in the world has crashed in NZ this week, as Kiwi motorsport legend Rod Millen rolled his Toyota Celica Pikes Peak hillclimb racer.
The car that allowed Millen to essentially set an unbreakable record at Pikes Peak was seen in an Instagram video attributed to Millen being lifted back onto the track at his property during the running of Leadfoot Festival 2020.
It seems Millen himself is just fine, with no reports of injury, but the Celica has seen better days. Once the car was craned back onto the black stuff, Millen was even able to drive the car away from the scene of the crash.
Rod’s not calling it a wreck, though, as Millen’s friend and fellow motorsport personality Ray Evernham says “if you can drive it back to the pit it wasn't a wreck,” according to Millen.
“Rod does not get charged with a wreck. Even though they had [to] use a chainsaw and a crane to get it back on track,” Evernham commented jokingly.
Thankfully Millen’s beats will live to see another day, with the purpose-built tube-frame racer still operational aside from its impact damage.
The car holds a special place in the realm of Pikes Peak history, as it remains the fastest car to run up the Race to the Clouds pre-paved surfaces.
With a time of 10:04.06 on its debut in 1994, Millen and the Celica beat the previous record by almost 40 seconds.
A 630kW+ racing engine (Toyota’s 2.1-litre 3S-GTE turbo four) and aero parts ‘borrowed’ from Dan Gurney’s former All-American Racing F1 team.
The record was beaten years later, in 2007, after the course had been partially paved with tarmac. Here’s hoping we see the Celica back in action for displays again soon.
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