Well, there are a couple of evocative motorsport names right there. The rally legend that is Sebastian Loeb goes on loan from Citroen WRC to a new Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak project. You might also remember another rather naughty Peugeot ‘T16’, the 405 T16 coupe from Ari Vatanen’s record-breaking 1998 Pikes Peak victory. Don’t worry if you don’t as we’ve got a cracking video of that retro mountainous turbo madness for you below.
So, the greatest modern day rally driver of all time, a full-bore new Peugeot 208 T16 super-rally car, and one of the most demanding and dangerous motorsport challenges known to man and machine.
Sunday, June 30th, in Colorado USA, is the day that the famously unforgiving Pikes Peak will host probably their most eye-catching all-star team, with nine time rally world champ Loeb at the wheel of the very special wide ‘n’ wild Peugeot 208 T16.
At the moment Peugeot Sport are keeping the spec of their first new T16 for 25 years under wraps, and while the days of truly huge horsepower competitive rally cars have been and gone, the nature of the Pikes Peak event – and the other competitors – means that the hot new Pug will have to be seriously smokin’, just like the T16s of old. The new Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak has been entered in the fastest ‘Unlimited’ class and has been given the start number ‘208’. Nice.
Four-wheel drive of course, well in excess of 500bhp, and some special electronics to take care of the low-oxygen issues as the car climbs the Pikes Peak mountain. Nearer the top and the air is thin, with some cars losing as much as 30 per cent of their power towards the end of the race.
The 208 T16 needs to get to the top before anyone else and must negotiate a straining series of death-drop bends to get there. For those that haven’t seen what the Peak is all about, here’s Ari Vatanen’s record-breaking on-the-edge victory on the 1988 event in the Peugeot 405 T16, documented by the celebrated motorsport movie, ‘Climb Dance’.
Impressive stuff. The commitment from the driver is clear and that old 405 T16 is about as bhp-ballsy as they’ve ever built. It’ll be great to see what Loeb does with the track and 208 T16. Vatanen comes from the old school of top level rallying where the seat of the pants and an always-in right foot approach was the order of the day, whereas the modern Peugeot brand is looking for big and stylish PR from this one-off event, since recently mothballing many of their motorsport programs – like Le Mans – thanks to a dramatic drop in their new car sales. So, they need to beat the Peak, but perhaps not in the health and safety savaging style of Vatanen and the 405 T16!
This one-off Peugeot Pikes Peak assault will be a big budget extravaganza – Peugeot really want to win – and there are a couple of reasons behind this 2013 Peugeot on Pikes Peak. Firstly, we’ve got the new 208 GTi road car coming out soon – Motor-Vision will be driving it in the next week or so on the mountain roads of Wales– and, I think, Peugeot want to keep their brand in the glamorous world of motorsport. It’s very likely that this latest assault on Pikes Peak, with Loeb and his sponsor Red Bull, will get Peugeot the big time press coverage they desire. Expect another movie all about it… unless, of course, this happens…
By Dan Anslow