This is either the daftest looking Peugeot 208 I’ve ever seen or the most bad-ass. I can’t decide, but if the enormous wing and swollen arches are a hint of its potential then it will almost certainly be the fastest 208 we’re likely to see.
This carbon-fibre bodied creation is the Peugeot 208 T16 and it has one purpose in life – to ascend to the summit of Pikes Peak quicker than anything else at this year’s Hill Climb. Its pilot will be WRC legend Sebastien Loeb, no stranger to the controls of fast French hatchbacks.
The T16 badge is enough to make motorsport fans go a bit giddy. Remember the 205 T16 that took part in the fierce battles of WRC Group B in the 80s? It had all-wheel drive, 450bhp, weighed slightly less than a suck of spuds, went like the clappers and won Peugeot both the driver’s and manufacturer’s titles.
There’s no word yet on what kind of punch the 208 T16 is packing but expect it to be quite a bit more than the 205. The current record is held by Rhys Millen, who set a time of of 9m 46.164s in a 550bhp Hyundai Genesis coupe, so 600bhp seems like a good target.
Peugeot’s motorsport program was a huge part of their marketing in the 80s and they’re no strangers to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. You may have seen the awesome spectacle that is ‘Climb Dance’, the video of Ari Vatanen piloting a Peugeot 405 T16 up the 12 mile course. That video was produced to celebrate Vatanen’s 1988 victory and the following year Robby Unser gave Peugeot back-to-back titles.
Pikes Peak is a serious test for even the best of drivers. There are 156 cliff-lined corners and an ascent of over 1,500 metres to the finish line nestling amongst the clouds at 4,301 metres above sea level. Loeb may be the most successful rally driver of recent history but he won’t be able to rely on his co-driver for directions around the track – the drivers are on their own, so they’d better make the most of the limited practise runs.
This really is going to be an interesting project. Red Bull are sponsoring the Peugeot 208 T16 and its Pikes Peak challenge so expect to hear plenty more from their publicity machine in the build up to the race on the 30th June. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up with a video to rival Vatanen’s classic?
If you’ve never seen Climb dance, or even if you have, you really should watch it now. As one of the commenters on the video says, it makes Ken Block look like Ken Livingston.