What do you get when you combine the 9-time Pikes Peak champion and one of the leading companies in high-end electric performance cars? The Tajima Rimac eRunner is what you get, otherwise known as the most ferocious Pikes Peak race car you’ve ever seen before.
This one of a kind race car is the brainchild of the founder of Tajima Motor Corporation, “Monster” Nobuhiro Tajima. He earned the nickname by being a monster behind the wheel of just about anything. He was especially drawn to the ridiculously powerful and lightweight Pikes Peak hill climb cars and has picked up a record 9 overall wins in his long decorated career. Monster shows no signs of slowing down, actually it’s quite the contrary. He’s bound and determined to reach a new level of performance and he plans to do so with this incredible machine.
The biggest obstacle that Pikes Peak racers have to overcome is the mountain itself. More specifically the altitude. The start of the race is just under 10,000 feet and the finish line is up over 14,000. That means that internal combustion engines drastically loose power due to the air being so thin. Most reports say that a naturally aspirated engine will loose up to half it’s power by the time it reaches the top of the 12.42-mile course. This is why you see most top of the line Pikes Peak cars with a staggering amount of turbo boost to try and compensate for the loss in power.
However we live in the future, and that means there’s another way. Electric motors don’t loose a single drop of power no matter what the altitude is. Race teams have known this for quite some time and the only reason we don’t see a full field of electric cars is because of the battery technology, or lack there of. This is why Monster Tajima enlisted the help of Rimac Automobili.
Rimac is the Croation car manufacturer that’s responsible for the absolutely incredible Rimac Concept One. This is the fully electric car that completely embarrassed both the Bugatti Veyron and the Porsche 918 in a drag race. Rimac is at the forefront of the performance electric car market that specializes in creating some of the most technologically advanced drivetrains on the planet. So who better to help create what might be the ultimate Pikes Peak race car.
The duties of each company in building the eRunner were pretty cut and dry. Rimac Automobili was responsible for the battery packs, four electric motors, and their patented torque vectoring system that is said to provide unmatched cornering ability. Virtually everything else fell into the hands of the performance division at Tajima Motor Corp, known as Monster Sport. They created everything from the wheels and tires to the space age chassis, suspension, and braking system.
Monster Sport was also responsible for creating the aero package that will create a mind boggling 1,763lbs (800kg) when traveling at just 100mph. That much downforce combined with all-wheel drive and Rimac’s torque vectoring system will apparently bring as much a 3G’s of lateral grip in the corners. That’s enough to make you feel like you’re getting your face ripped off, to put it lightly. Combined with the neck-snapping horsepower and torque that comes from the four electric motors, this is shaping up to be something quite special.
It’s incredibly difficult to get exact performance specs of electric motors due to the immense instant torque, but Rimac and Tajima claim the eRunner is producing as much as 1,500hp and virtually an unlimited amount of torque when the batteries are at full charge. I’m not quite sure how to wrap my head around that, to be honest. Each wheel gets its own electric motor which is a major factor in the torque vectoring system. The motors are connected to each wheel with a chain drive system that ends up making the loudest and most obnoxious sound, which is definitely not what you would expect coming from an electric car especially after being around a Tesla. The eRunner sprints from 0-62mph in just 2.3 seconds and will keep going up to 124mph in just 5.4 seconds.
Everything about the eRunner was built and designed to run at Pikes Peak and only Pikes Peak. For example, to accommodate the 7% incline the car was fixed with a perfect weight distribution of 52%-48%. The two massive battery packs that weigh in at 440lbs each were flanked on each side of the driver to help with that. Speaking of the driver, Monster sits in what looks like a cockpit of a fighter jet in the center of the car. This allows for the best visibility when flying up the mountain. Even the tires were made using a super sticky compound that will only last approximately 15 miles before needing to be replaced.
Monster and Rimac debuted the eRunner at the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb where they nearly claimed the overall victory. However, they had to settle for second place due to Rhys Millen’s crushing performance in a different electric vehicle. Determined to pick up his 10th win, Monster brought his new purpose built car back in 2016 but was plagued with mechanical issues that forced him to settle for a 5th place overall finish. But he has plans to bring it out again for the 2017 race that’s scheduled to take place in June. It should turn out to be quite the showdown between the electric modified class and the unlimited petrol chugging class for the overall win.