Designing a competition car, like this Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution, to perform at more than 10,000ft must keep even the smartest boffins in motorsport awake at night. Altitude can do punitive, even catastrophic, things to a vehicle.

Thinner air saps power from a combustion engine, puts more strain on cooling systems and requires bigger wings to generate downforce. As you climb, the car underneath you can change drastically.

So, what might start off as a world-class competition car at the bottom of the hill can rapidly become a sluggish, uncooperative vehicle as you near the peak - quickly abolishing any thoughts or dreams of setting a fast time.

There aren’t many places in the world where you can engage in motorsport at that kind of altitude – but you’ll have heard of one. The 12.42-mile Pikes Peak hillclimb, Colorado’s Race to the Clouds, starts beyond 9000ft and ends up, 156 corners later, at 14,110ft.

The finish line for this incredible time trial is three times as high as the summit of Ben Nevis, and to be the quickest to it, you need a very special car indeed.

You need a car like the the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution. It was fast enough to finish second in class and eighth overall (out of 128 finishers) in 2012’s Pikes Peak. And it’s powered not by pistons but innovation, devotion and electricity.

Top 5 Extreme track cars

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  • Caterham Seven 620R
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