1998 Toyota Tacoma Race Truck Hits the Dyno, Gets Ready for Pikes Peak Return

Ever since February 2022, it is no secret that Rod Millen and his 1998 Toyota Tacoma race truck are coming back to Pikes Peak. The legendary racer, who has won twice at Pikes Peak in that Tacoma, will return for the 100th running of the famous hill climb event. Doing so will require specific preparation of the vehicle.
1998 Toyota Tacoma race car for Pikes Peak 6 photos
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube video by Larry Chen
1998 Toyota Tacoma race car for Pikes Peak1998 Toyota Tacoma race car for Pikes Peak1998 Toyota Tacoma race car for Pikes Peak1998 Toyota Tacoma race car for Pikes Peak1998 Toyota Tacoma race car for Pikes Peak
Work on the 1998 Toyota Tacoma race truck started back when the vehicle was inspected ahead of its first outing of this year. With flat tires and several months since its last start-up, the first test was to see if the engine would start. A fresh battery did the trick, and not leaving the tank full of gas allowed the team to refill it with the good stuff.

Storing fuel in the long term is complicated, mostly because gasoline or diesel fuel are not meant to be kept as they are in a tank, but need substances to keep their compounds stable in time. In racing cars that use methanol, for example, they will need to be sure that the fuel has not gotten too much water vapor from the atmosphere, as that will cause other issues later.

In the video below, you can see the two-time Pikes Peak winning Toyota Tacoma hit the dyno, as well as listen to what Rod Millen has to say about his purpose-built racecar that still has its signature Pennzoil livery.

Since Pikes Peak only has its racing course open on race day, racers always have to be sure that everything is perfect in their cars before attempting to go against the clock up the mountain.

A big challenge that tuners face when preparing an engine for Pikes Peak is the difference in altitude that they encounter, which can make some of the sensors on the vehicle deliver erroneous results.

For example, a vehicle can drive fine and perform at its peak on the dyno in a workshop, but might struggle with fueling as it goes up the hill at Pikes Peak because of the difference in air pressure.

Seasoned competitors already know how to tackle this, but those who do not take that into account will have to make last-minute adjustments to their ECUs.

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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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