PEU­GEOT 208 T16 PIKES PEAK

Motor Sport News - - Monsters: The Future -

There are a few ways to make a car leg­endary – ex­treme power, in­no­va­tive or plain bonkers engi­neer­ing, a fight against the odds, or even just put it in the hands of one of the most suc­cess­ful driv­ers of all time.

Peu­geot opted to check all of the boxes with the rad­i­cal 208 T16 Pikes Peak. Fol­low­ing Peu­geot Sport’s de­ci­sion to with­draw from world sportscar rac­ing in 2013 the firm needed a dose of good PR, but it had to come on the cheap. Peu­geot Sport boss Bruno Famin had an idea, and it re­volved around re­pur­pos­ing a lot of the bits from the 908 HDI FAP LMP1 cars that were now gath­er­ing dust in the cor­ner of his work­shop.

The re­sult was an ab­so­lute mon­ster of a space­frame sa­loon that aimed for the sky, lit­er­ally. The last time Peu­geot did Pikes Peak it did it prop­erly, set­ting a then-record time with Ari Vata­nen driv­ing a 405 T16, which in­spired the cult film Climb Dance.

This time how­ever, things went off the scale. Added to the space­frame chas­sis were the huge rear wing from the 908, as well as its sus­pen­sion as­sem­bly, brakes and many other aero parts. In went a twin­tur­bocharged 3.2-litre V6 en­gine, tuned to pro­duce a hulk­ing 875bhp, which was equiv­a­lent to the to­tal net weight of the car. The twin tur­bos were used to negate any power dis­ad­van­tage as the air thinned up the 4,720 foot as­cent.

The re­sult was a 1016bhp per tonne ra­tio – twice that of a Bu­gatti Vey­ron – a 1.8s 0-60mph time and a car only the most skilled could han­dle on one of the world’s most dan­ger­ous events.

En­ter Se­bastien Loeb. The French world rally dom­i­na­tor took the 208 T16 by the scruff of the neck and hauled it to the top of the Californian hill­climb in an as­ton­ish­ing 8m13.878s, av­er­ag­ing 90.53mph along the way. It was 1m32s un­der the ex­ist­ing record.

Loeb said at the fin­ish: “I came in not know­ing whether to drive at a pace or push, but in the end I just opted to go to the limit right away and stay there. This was the race of the year.”

Se­bastien Loeb was en­trusted with tam­ing the Peu­geot 208 T16

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