Ta­jima’s determined to get his ninth race ti­tle

All tuned up and rar­ing to go

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT -

Eight-time King of the Moun­tain Nobuhiro ‘Mon­ster’ Ta­jima has con­firmed he will pi­lot his new 670 hp ‘Su­per 86’ hill­climb car in the Race to the Sky later this month.

Ta­jima’s car was de­vel­oped in 2013 from a Toy­ota GT86 sports car and boasts amid-mounted, 2977cc V6 twin-turbo en­gine, an over-sized rear wing, and re­designed in­duc­tion and ex­haust lay­out.

The Ja­panese mo­tor­sport star’s own team, Mon­ster Sport, has given the ve­hi­cle a full tun­ing ahead of its in­ter­na­tional de­but.

Ta­jima, 64, is determined to win.

‘‘Of all of the gravel hill­climbs, this is num­ber one, and now that it is the long­est in the world it makes it even more spe­cial,’’ said Ta­jima.

‘‘The course is fan­tas­tic. Yes it is very tough but the safety is great and the views are amaz­ing. I’ve held the ti­tle of King of the Hill eight times now, so I need two more to make it 10.’’

Ta­jima set the course record of 8min, 1.17 sec­onds in 2006. The only year he com­peted and didn’t win – 2001 – the ti­tle went to the late Pos­sum Bourne.

Kiwi star Rod Millen won the Race to the Sky in 2002, when Ta­jima did not com­pete.

Ta­jima’s ca­reer spans many years with nu­mer­ous cham­pi­onship ti­tles at home, but in­ter­na­tion­ally he’s best known for his hill­climb suc­cesses in New Zealand’s Race to the Sky and Amer­ica’s iconic Pikes Peak In­ter­na­tional Hill­climb.

Ta­jima has earned two Ja­panese ral­ly­cross cham­pi­onship ti­tles in the Su­per 86.

High­lands Mo­tor­sport Park gen­eral manager Mike Sentch said there would be ‘‘one heck of a match-up’’ be­tween Mon­ster Ta­jima and Alis­ter McRae (Scot­land), driv­ing the late Bourne’s Van­tage Subaru.

The Van­tage Subaru is ex­pected to boast around 750 hp when Pos­sum Bourne Mo­tor­sport fin­ish their pre-event prepa­ra­tion.

The Cardrona event is fully sub­scribed with 100 com­pet­ing.

Mon­ster Ta­jima with his Su­per 86. Photo: Sup­plied

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