Tony Quinn's Hillclimb Beast

You have to love Tony Quinn; he’s doing what every petrolhead would do given the time and resources, building the ultimate collection of toys.

His latest is the RTTS Extreme 4WD, built specifically to tackle the Race to the Sky hillclimb, which Quinn and the team from Highland Motorsports Park have resurrected after an eight-year hiatus.

Quinn's newest weapon is the work of Queensland-based PACE Innovations, whose resume includes the V8 Supercars Car of the Future, New Zealand V8 SuperTourer and MARC V8 endurance racer projects.

PACE Innovations boss, Paul Ceprnich, explains that he basically talked Quinn into the project after the VIP Pet Foods boss expressed interest in buying a car to compete in the event.

The car only had one criterion to meet; it had to be capable of covering the 14.5km course in less than eight minutes, therefore breaking Monster Tajima's current course record of 8min01.17sec.

Such an ambitious target has led to a jaw-dropping set of vital stats. The RTTS (Race to the Sky) Extreme 4WD weighs just 989kg thanks to its tubular spaceframe being clothed in carbon panels.

The radical aero setup is claimed to produce 1000kg of downforce at 200km/h, the ground-hugging rubber skirts disguising the fact that the bottom of the car sits 170mm off the ground, with 210mm of suspension travel at both ends.

The suspension itself is unequal length double wishbone front and rear, with the dampers provided by Reiger (a favourite of WRC teams) and springs by King.

With so much aerodynamic drag to overcome, Ceprnich knew that plenty of horsepower would be required, and after examining a number of options, the team decided on the VR38 twin-turbo 3.8-litre six from the R35 GT-R.

Fed 1.4bar of boost, it produces a mighty 634kW at 7100rpm and 976Nm at 5100rpm, fed to all four wheels through a six-speed Holinger sequential gearbox.

Rims are 15 inches to allow WRC-spec tyres to be used, while the small wheel diameter forced the use of brakes from a GP2 single-seater.

After originally shying away from driving duties, Quinn has decided to steer the car himself following discussions with Ceprnich, who states that given the car's huge amount of power and downforce, a neat, circuit-style of driving will be best suited to taming the wild animal.

Ceprnich drove the car as a shakedown before it was shipped off to New Zealand, and says that despite a long history of building fast race cars, it's unlike anything he's driven before.

"It's enough to scare me," he says, "it's really, really, really fast."

Having taken just 22 weeks from concept to completion and with little testing, Ceprnich admits there are plenty of questions to be answered as to how the car copes with the testing Queenstown hillclimb, let alone the challenge of taking on Monster Tajima and his wild 500kW, 1080kg Toyota 86.

The RTTS Extreme 4WD is a brilliant example of the wild creations that hillclimbing's liberal rulebook encourages; we can't wait to see it in action on April 18-19.

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