COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – ENEOS — Japan’s largest oil company, and supplier of motor oil and transmission fluids to the majority of Asian vehicle manufacturers — will return to the Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb with its sponsored driver, Daijiro Yoshihara, and car builder Evasive Motorsports.
The same combination won the Unlimited Class at the 2020 event with a 900-horsepower turbocharged Toyota 86, but this year the team is building a Tesla Model 3 from scratch for a new attempt at the Race to the Clouds.
With six previous Pikes Peak attempts under its belt, Evasive Motorsports is extremely experienced at preparing cars for the epic climb up the mountain. However, preparing a Tesla for the event presents a challenge because very few motorsports components exist, requiring extra effort in terms of problem solving and fabrication.
One of the team’s priorities has been to ensure the powertrain has sufficient cooling. Evasive worked with CSF Radiators to create a new radiator and oil cooler set up. As an extra precaution, a nitrous oxide sprayer was installed, helping to chill the batteries during the hill climb if pre-set temperatures are exceeded. Airflow to the battery pack has been further improved with a carbon fiber front vent, venting in the new carbon fiber hood, and rear inlet ducts integrated into the C-pillars.
Developing 450 horsepower, the stock Tesla Model 3 Performance accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds to a top speed of 162 mph. The Evasive team is working to harndess its all-wheel drive performance in order to create a new EV Production Car track record time in the Exhibition Class since no EV competition class currently exists.
As such, the car has further modifications, including widebody fenders and carbon fiber aero pieces from Artisan Spirits in Japan. The primary purpose is to accommodate 18×11” Titan 7 TP-5 forged wheels and 305/650-18 Toyo Tires racing slicks. This combination, in harmony with KW Competition suspension and Brembo racing brakes, should ensure Dai Yoshihara has the best chassis to command the 156 turns on his way up to the finish line.
To further enhance aerodynamic efficiency and reduce weight, EVS developed its own aero disc covers for the wheels, and carbon fiber replacement doors, roof, rear windshield and trunk lid. For high-speed stability, the Tesla is equipped with an EVS honeycomb carbon splitter and rear diffuser plus a Voltex carbon fiber GT rear wing to generate increased downforce.
Another major addition is the Quaife ATB rear differential, which will better apportion power to the rear wheels. However, its installation was far from simple, requiring a modified frame and custom bushings. As with previous PPIHC attempts, the diff is lubricated by ENEOS gear oil to ensure efficiency and durability.
The final piece of the puzzle is the nut behind the wheel. Driving duties will again be handled by Dai Yoshihara. As the 2011 Formula DRIFT driver’s champion, multiple Time Attack race winner, GT sports car driver and racing instructor, he will be protected by an FIA-spec EVS rollcage while sat in his carbon/Kevlar Sparco QRT-K bucket seat with six-point harnesses. For his third attempt at PPIHC, Dai will monitor speed and vehicle parameters via a Motec C127 Datalogger display in a custom carbon fiber EVS dashboard.
“I’m very excited about my third Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb,” Yoshihara said. “We had a great result last year and will try our best to build on the momentum. I’m grateful that ENEOS has supported our PPIHC program ever since my first year in 2019, and that they accepted our new challenge with the Tesla EV this year. We’re all very excited to see what we can do.”
With the conversion to a race car recently completed, the team’s test program continued until traveled to Colorado in preparation for the Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb, which takes place on June 27.
“This is definitely our most ambitious project to date,” said Mike Chang, co-founder of Evasive Motorsports. “We love to challenge ourselves and know it’s only a matter of time before the performance and racing industry will need to look seriously at electric vehicles. So, we decided to jump into the deep-end and apply all our motorsports experience to the Tesla Model 3. We’re hoping to anticipate any potential problems we will face, but we won’t know if we succeeded until Dai crosses the finish line on June 27, and hopefully we’re left holding the EV Production Class track record.”
For ENEOS, its EV development program will not stop when the flag drops at Pikes Peak. It will continue to work with many of the world’s largest car makers to help solve their lubrication and EV fluid requirements in the pursuit of greater efficiency.
“We’re proud to be returning to Pike Peak International Hill Climb with Dai Yoshihara and Evasive Motorsports,” said Keisuke Yokochi, Chief Marketing Officer at ENEOS USA. “We’re excited to learn how our products work under intense competition, not only in the traditional rear differential but also with the latest EV components. We have always worked with partners in world-class motorsports series such as F-1, NASCAR, Super GT, Rallycross, Formula DRIFT and more, which has allowed ENEOS to develop not only the most efficient vehicle solutions but also the most protective to help ensure maximum durability and performance for the benefit of all.”