Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will enter two MiEV Evolution III all-electric racecars in the 2014 edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (23-29 June). MMC has competed twice before in the Electric Division—in 2012 and 2013—and now with the MiEV Evolution III, hopes to take its first victory, this time in the new Electric Modified Division. (Also running in the Electric Modified Division will be a Tesla Roadster from Latvia.)
The MiEV Evolution III racecar is an improved and evolved version of last year's MiEV Evolution II. (Earlier post.) Main components—including the 50 kWh battery from Lithium Energy Japan, high-output electric motor and electric-powered 4WD consisting of four Meidensha electric motors—have been retained with improvements made to give better motive and cornering performance. To reduce weight in the pipe-frame chassis, the design has rationalized and some structural materials have been replaced.
|New MiEV Evolution III. Click to enlarge.||Old MiEV Evolution II. Click to enlarge.|
Total motor output of four motors has been boosted from 400 kW to 450 kW and to ensure all the extra power is put down on the road surface the Dunlop tires have been uprated in size from 260/650-18 to 330/680-18 (wheels by Enkei).
Downforce has been increased with a new carbon cowl design and with wind-tunnel optimization of the spoiler and other detail shapes. Evolutionary development of the S-AWC integrated vehicle dynamics control system has improved traction control performance and has reduced wheel slip by controlling vehicle attitude more precisely when near the limit of adhesion.
The team technical director and chief mechanics are mainly all engineers in MMC’s Development Engineering Office. Responsible for the maintenance of the racecars during the hill climb event, they will also be gathering data and knowhow which will be fed back into the advance development of MMC EV technologies, its S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) integrated vehicle dynamics control system and into the company’s “e-EVOLUTION—a fusion of electric motor drive and the S-AWC system.
The race team will feature the same drivers as last year. One MiEV Evolution III will be driven by two-time Dakar Rally overall champion Hiroshi Masuoka, who piloted the MiEV Evolution II to second place honors in the Electric Division last year and also act as team captain. The second MiEV Evolution III will be piloted by Greg Tracy, six-time Pikes Peak motorcycle champion whom last year drove a MiEV Evolution II to third place in the Electric Division, his first time challenging the race on four wheels.
Held annually in Colorado, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is an automobile and motorcycle hill climb. First run in 1916, the hill climb celebrates its 92nd running this year. The race starts at an elevation of 2,862 m (9,390 feet) and takes competitors through 156 corners on a 20 km (12.4 mile) course to the finish on the 4,301-meter (14,111-foot) summit of Pikes Peak. With an elevation difference of 1,439 meters (4,721 feet), atmospheric pressure, temperature, weather and other conditions vary significantly between the start and finish.
This year sees our third attempt at this great race and we will be going for victory in the Electric Modified Division. MiEV Evolution III is an improved version of last year's machine and brings significantly better cornering performance after improvements to the motors, aerodynamics and tires. That the driver can feel confident about extracting every ounce of the increased performance is thanks to evolutionary development of the S-AWC system. This has resulted in a quantum leap in vehicle stability on winding roads, and I am confident that MiEV Evolution III will demonstrate the full extent of its potential over a course such as Pikes Peak with its 156 corners.— Hiroshi Masuoka, Driver and Team Captain