Colorado Springs—–Rhys Millen, already among the most decorated champions in the history of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, embarked on a new course during the 96th running of the Race to the Clouds on June 24 and emerged again as a champion in his 25th appearance on the mountain.
The New Zealander drove a 2018 Bentley Bentayga to a new Production SUV record with a clocking of 10:49.902, averaging an impressive 66.5 mph and obliterating the 2014 mark of 12:35.610 set by Paul Dallenbach in a 2014 Range Rover Sport.
“To take a luxury SUV with minimal modifications and be able to drive up this course in under 11 minutes is a huge testament to the performance and level of engineering in the Bentayga,” said Millen.
“I had a great run – the car was planted all the way up and gave me the confidence I needed to push hard. I’m delighted to take the SUV record for Bentley and for everyone who’s been involved in this project.”
Bentley said before the run it worked for six months to prepare the turbo 12-cylinder SUV for the climb, and even so, the most changes were made to the car’s weight, which was reduced by removing 663 pounds of interior trim. Additional tweaks to the adaptive air suspension and a 48V electric active anti-roll control also helped Millen make his record run.
Millen, a two-time King of the Mountain, has recorded 12 division/class wins on the mountain, beginning with his 1992 crown in the Pikes Peak Open Class, piloting a Mazda on his way to Rookie of the Year honors.
Millen enjoyed history in 2016, winning the Electric Modified crown in a ‘16 eO PP100, with a time of 8:57.118, joining Sebastien Loeb and Romain Dumas as the only three competitors to finish the course in under nine minutes at the time. That was the first title in the history of the race for an electric auto.
He won in 2017 in the rugged Time Attack 1 Class, driving his 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe and clocking 9:47.427 to set the stage for his 2018 adventure with Bentley.
To celebrate the occasion, Bentley will release a limited-edition version of its first production SUV. Limited to just 10 models, the SUV will feature a number of interior and exterior design elements in the same shade of Radium green that covers the Pikes Peak car. There are a few Pikes Peak logos spread about the interior, as well, in addition to numbered doorsill plates. Customers in the U.S. and Europe can order one starting in August.
PPIHC Senior Media Consultant