Peugeot is returning to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year after a 14-year absence, and it has begun teasing the 208 T16 that Sébastien Loeb will be piloting up the mountain. Sporting a carbon fiber effects package that you won’t find on the dealership floor nor at your local tuner, even the cockpit is a surprise since it features a central driving position.
Waging war in the Unlimited Class, it will have gobs of power underhood, the number 208 on its sides and two self-locking diffs to get power to the proper wheels.
The entire route is paved this year, but Loeb has proved he knows how to handle tarmac in a variety of circumstances: after taking third in the French GT Championship last year, he entered the FIA GT series this year and won the opening race of the season earlier this month in a McLaren MP4-12C.
The announcement of this ambitious project three weeks ago caused something of a buzz in motorsport circles, and the time has now come for the next phase of this exciting adventure: the unveiling of the machine with which Sébastien Loeb will target victory in Colorado. Although its exterior styling resembles that of the production model, the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak was tailor engineered and designed to meet the specific needs of the famous American event.
No punches have been pulled with the 208 T16 Pikes Peak which will compete in the event’s premier ‘Unlimited’ class, a category that allows plenty of freedom on the technical front. The engineers have naturally taken on-board the salient features of this legendary competition, the USA’s oldest after the Indy 500 and a truly unique cocktail because of its incredibly twisty, high-altitude course.
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!”
All that remains now is to discover the performance potential 208 T16 Pikes Peak and
its final livery. Be patient, all will soon be revealed!
The start line is located at an altitude of 2,800 metres, which means that competitors face an altitude difference of some 1,500 metres. Meanwhile, the lack of oxygen is a challenge not only for the engines – which can lose up to 30 per cent of their power – but also for the drivers who must remained fully focused on the 156 cliff-lined corners…
It is an exercise which calls for dexterity and meticulous preparation, as well as a little luck!
The entry is broken down into more than 20 classes covering vehicles as varied as cars, bikes, sidecars and trucks. The premier category is the ‘Unlimited’ class in which Sébastien Loeb’s Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak will co mpete. A number of official test sessions are organised to enable competitors to familiarise themselves with the course, but only one section at a time. The only opportunity they get to tackle the route in one go is when they do it for real on the day.
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