It seems that you just can’t keep a good, 875bhp, tube frame, carbon encrusted, four-wheel drive super-racecar down. Indeed, this Peugeot 208 T16 racecar likes going up. Going up hills, really, really quickly, and beating the odd record on the way.
Just a couple of weeks ago we were all waiting with turbo-boost-baiting-breath as the T16, with rally ace, Seb Loeb, at the wheel, gurgled impatiently at the Pikes Peak start line. The plan was for the Peugeot Sport-built bespoke monster to win the Pikes Peak Unlimited Class and be the very fastest car to the top of the famous mountain. Well, it pounded the opposition with its twin-turbo, V6 fist and set a course record that many say might just be unbeatable.
Was it the car, or was it the killer combination of Loeb and the car? Well, Loeb’s got cat-like reflexes that’s for sure, but it seems that Peugeot Sport have built an immediately accomplished machine – all those rally and Le Mans races clearly remembered – and the T16 is a potent package in any skilled driver’s hands.
Rubbing salt into all-comers’ wounds, the hot 208 once again took to a famous hillclimb like a devilish duck to water, with Peugeot Sport development driver, Grégory Guilvert, taking the top step of the podium at the Goodwood Fesitval of Speed, at the weekend. After only his first few attempts on the winding and building-lined Goodwood hill, Guilvert topped the time sheets with hill veteran, Nick Heidfeld, who ran a circuit-racing, Group C prototype Lola B12/60, both drivers scoring a 45.86 second run.
Whilst the T16 is clearly packing some serious aero – the rear wing is from Peugeot’s Le Mans racecar – the Lola would be all downforce. It’s testament to the sheer brute force, mechanical grip and thumping turbo power of the 208 that it precisely matched the low-slung, Le Mans-style Lola. The Pug’s 875kg race-weight makes very good use of all that grunt, too.
So, have Peugeot Sport built some kind of hillclimbing superhero? Perhaps one more test of motorsport manhood will truly tell us. Until then, I think it’s time for a manufacturer or two with similar heritage to step up to the plate and take on the snarling Peugeot.
Mitsubishi WRC, or Citroen WRC, perhaps? Or how about a few of them? Can you just imagine several unlimited loonies like the T16 all let loose on a rallycross stage together? It’ll be like the end of the world on alloy wheels!
By Dan Anslow