French racing hotshot Romain Dumas plans to return to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year and has his eyes set on a new record.  Last year, he had a Hill Climb record of 9:46.181 in the Open Division driving a Porsche 911 GT3R, shattering the old 9:51.278 record set the year before.  This year, Dumas plans to break his own record, this time in the Unlimited Class where he’ll face off against tough competition.

He’ll have a tough go of it, though.  Last year, he was very closely followed by Rhys Millen in a 2003 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, who returned a 9:46.164 time, beating the win by fractions of a second and securing a new all-time record on the mountain.

Dumas will be racing in a Norma prototype.  He’ll be doing so on an aggressive race schedule for this year, which includes plans to race at Daytona, the Petit Le Mans, and others.  The Norma, however, is a made-for-climbing vehicle, built specifically for European hill climb events and particularly well suited to the Pikes Peak climb.

The race isn’t all his, however.  This year is setting up to be one that will be recorded in Pikes Peak International Hill Climb legend.  Not only is Dumas going to make the Unlimited climb, but he’ll be joined by other celebrities from the racing circuit, many of whom are veterans of the Peak.

Millen will be back, this time in a purpose-built racer from Hyundai featuring their Lambda powertrain, putting out 900 horses.  Sebastian Loeb, who we’ve talked about before, will also be hitting the Peak in a purpose-designed Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak.  Three-time Pikes Peak Open champion Dave Carapetyan will also be there.  So will Jean-Philippe Dayraut, Cody Loveland, Spencer Steele (2012 Open Wheel division winner), and Doug Siddens (2012 Exhibition Powersport division winner).  The new Electric Auto Division will have nine-time Unlimited champion Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima (whose record Dumas broke last year).

With all those great racers on hand, plus the wildcard of newbies and unexpected entries, this will be a Pikes Peak year to remember.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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