Following the announcement earlier this month that the famous Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in America will see a Peugeot again after 24 years, the French company’s motorsports division has revealed pictures of the car which it will enter in the world’s highest hillclimb event. It is based on the 208 model which will be launched in Malaysia tomorrow.
Sebastien Loeb, on loan from Citroen’s WRC team, will be at the wheel of the 208 T16 Pikes Peak and will compete in the ‘Unlimited’ class, a category that allows plenty of technical freedom (meaning no restrictions on modifications). The engineers have referred to the experience gained in 1988 and 1989 when Ari Vatanen and then Robby Unser set records in the ‘Race to the Clouds’. Loeb, who will not have a co-driver to read pace notes, will be racing through 156 corners over a 20-km course that ends at an altitude of 4,301 metres, some 1,500 metres higher than the starting point.
“The car has a highly distinctive design. Its proportions are very different to those of the production 208,” said Michael Trouve, who is in charge of silhouette design at Peugeot’s Styling Centre. “This difference gives it an almost beast-like appearance. Peugeot Sport provided us with a number of technical constraints, such as the width, body height, location of the wheels and engine, and we worked to this brief to produce an extreme take on the 208.”
“The cars which represent the brand in motorsport have always tended to feature sculpted forms which combine style and aerodynamic efficiency. The 208 T16 Pikes Peak is no exception, and it incorporates all the distinctive hallmarks of the 208 which itself marks a new generation of Peugeot design,” he explained. “I am very proud to have played a part in this adventure, especially since we didn’t have much time to work on the car’s design, because the green light was only given in November and the project wasn’t signed-off until February.”
The car’s aerodynamics naturally haven’t been sacrificed in the name of style. Based just a few kilometres from Peugeot Sport, the team of stylists was able follow the different build phases “The rear wing, which is that of the Le Mans 24 Hours-winning 908, and the splitter are two features of the car which give it its beast-like attitude. And I am amazed by the beauty of the parts concealed by the carbon bodywork!” revealed Trouve.
Over the years, the dirt trail has been gradually paved and the 2012 event was the first to take place entirely on asphalt. Unsurprisingly, last year’s competition produced a new outright record for the course when Rhys Millen (Hyundai Genesis Coupe) took 9 minutes 46.164 seconds, half the time required for the first run in 1916! A year earlier, ‘Monster’ Tajima (Suzuki SX4) was the first driver to break the 10-minute barrier with a Suzuki SX4.
To know more about the new Peugeot 208 and locate a showroom for a test-drive, visit www.peugeot.com.my