PEUGEOT 208 T16 PIKES PEAK
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.”