The big dollar dream team of nine-times World Rally Champion, Sebastian Loeb, and the one-off 875bhp Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak Unlimited racecar got the gold at Pikes Peak on Sunday, with a new world record in the fastest class, smashing the previous best time by 92 seconds. And here’s the tarmac-terrorising video from Red Bull TV.
We’ve been covering Peugeot Sport’s one-off assault on the legendary Pikes Peak hillclimb course – in its 91st year for 2013 – with baited breath here on Motor-Vision. The mouth-watering combination of the most winningest rally driver of all time and a bespoke 875bhp, four-wheel drive Peugeot 208 took us to new levels of turbocharged motorsport excitement, and on Sunday the flying Frenchman and his monster 208 did the business, big time. Loeb recorded a time of 8min 13.878sec over the twisting 12.4-mile course with its 156 corners and a 5,000 feet climb, kicking the old Unlimited record right into the Colorado clouds.
Running on fat Michelin slicks for the now all-tarmac course, Loeb drove the car like a circuit racecar rather than a rally car, with no sideways madness a la WRC; just clean and tidy cornering and flat-out-rapid acceleration all the way to the top. He had some practice before of course, but this is the first time he had run the foreboding 12.4-mile course in full and he took to it like a devilish duck to water.
Peugeot and their sponsorship partners clearly had the 2013 Pikes Peak Unlimited win on their minds right from the start, drafting Loeb in from his Citroen WRC duties and getting the Peugeot Sport team – builders of the Peugeot WRC and Le Mans racecars – to construct an entirely bespoke mountain-munching machine.
With a tubular steel chassis, carbon fibre body work, a monster rear wing borrowed from the Peugeot 908 Le Mans car, and a mid-mounted 3.2-litre twin-turbo V6 motorsport motor, the slicks-shod 875kg and 875bhp (1bhp for every kilo to carry!) four-wheel drive 208 T16 was always built to bang. And bang it did as Loeb smashed through the gears on huge waves of turbo-torque, with 62mph gone in just 1.8 seconds and 150mph dispatched in a barely believable 7 seconds. At a couple of points on the lethal course, this carbon creation was hitting 160mph.
The video from Red Bull TV chases the potent Peugeot up the hill in a helicopter, and we can clearly see how challenging the twisting course is and how ridiculously rapid the 208 T16 is. A truly champion job by Loeb and the Peugeot Sport team, and so satisfying for them – and for us – when such a perfect plan executes to such perfection.
Word is that the Pikes Peak conquering Peugeot 208 will be on show at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next week, and we’ll be there to shoot some close up pictures for all you Motor-Vision speed-fans out there.
By Dan Anslow