Motorsport legend Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima has driven his Suzuki XL7 into the record books at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the United States.

On July 21 the Japanese racing legend posted the fastest run ever recorded in the unlimited division at the annual ‘Race to the Clouds’.

Monster’s run of 10:01.04 seconds eclipsed the previous best time by more than three seconds.

“The car was fantastic,” said Monster. “I had a feeling throughout the race I would set the fastest time.”

He was mobbed by the large crowd after exiting the car, and celebrated when his record-breaking time was announced over the public address system.

“It’s fantastic and I’m very happy. But now I want to try again and beat the 10-minute barrier.”

The magical 10 minute mark is clearly within his reach. Each time he has raced at the event he has improved his time, and his specially prepared XL7 helped him secure his eighth ‘Race to the Sky’ championship in New Zealand in April.

The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the most famous in the motorsport world, and this year’s event was the 85th running, making it the second oldest auto race in the United States behind the Indianapolis 500.

The 20 kilometre track boasts 156 turns and an average uphill grade of seven per cent, with a maximum of 10.5 per cent.

The high elevation places unique strain and stress on driver and machine alike, starting 2900 metres above sea level and continues uphill the length of the track to the finish line, located 4300 metres above sea level or more than double the height of Mt Kosciuszko.

Drivers resort to oxygen bottles to maintain adequate levels of breathing, while the high altitudes strip around 30 per cent of the engine’s horsepower during the final few kilometers.

Monster’s Suzuki XL7 features a twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 that produces a stunning 750 kW (1007 horsepower) at 8500 rpm and 1000 Nm of torque at 6250 rpm.

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