Loeb's beast for Pikes Peak

2013-04-25 13:23

COLORADO SPRINGS, US - Peugeot Sport has pulled out a monster for World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb to take on the 2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb on June 30.

The chosen machine is a 208 T16 Pikes Peak which will, it's hoped, help the rally legend grab the ‘King of The Peak’ title of one of America's oldest races. The all-wheel drive car weighs 875kg and pushes out 652kW - or, in European horsepower terms, 1hp:1kg.

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The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is the only race in the world that permits the fantasy of any race car engineer, the very mention of the event and its celebrated ‘Unlimited’ class is enough to bring a twinkle to the eyes of any designer. Peugeot Sport engineer Jean-Christophe Pallier said: "Your imagination is the only limit when you set out to design a car for Pikes Peak. Designing this car was a tremendously rewarding experience, even though we still had to take the ‘time’ factor into account."

The dizzy altitudes of the Colorado climb present a unique technical challenge for engineers: they have to ensure the engines are able to breathe as freely as possible in the refined air. Peugeot sport director Bruno Famin said: “In the case of a normally-aspirated engine, you basically lose one percent of the available power every 100m you climb."


The race starts at an altitude of 2886m and finishes at 4301m so some of the cars lose about 30% of their sea-level power before they even start the race.

The car is powered by a bi-turbo V6 built for endurance racing. With this 652kW engine under the bonnet, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak will make even more power than a Formula 1 single-seater, making it the most powerful car the rally champ has yet driven. Peugeot Sport also paid special attention in ensuring Loeb had a particularly light car.

Peugoet Sport said the weight distribution of the tubular-frame machine was meticulously fine-tuned, with the engine sitting mid-rear. This set-up is similar to the famous Group B rally cars of the 1980's and endurance-racing prototypes.


The 208 T16 shares traits of the Le Mans 24 Hours 908 in several areas: running gear, brakes and aero features such as the air intake and two-metre wide rear wing, originally used for the first-generation 908 HDi FAP. Its aerodynamic package has also been meticulously honed.

Pallier again: “We believe efficient aerodynamics can give us a competitive edge over our rivals. The speeds reached during the ascent range from 50 to 240km/h and aerodynamics play a key role from 100km/h."

The car’s trademark rear wing and front splitter are not only extremely spectacular but also functional but the car's under-tray is responsible for generating almost half the car’s downforce.

  • Marcus Vermaak - 2013-04-25 14:14


  • Bob - 2013-04-25 14:39

    Wow! Kind of like the old 80's Audi Quattro on steroids :)

  • Jim Page - 2013-04-26 00:19

    Having been up Pikes Peak, it is an amazing route - we took almost an hour to do it in a bog standard Oldsmobile.

  • Keith Monale - 2013-04-28 10:24

    As I mentioned on another site, this car is just awe-inspiring to me. It just looks so profoundly focused. I really love it when something is purpose built. This kind of car is used but once a year ...at a specific event and everything about it is focused on that one event. It is a specialised and extreme tool fit for a specific purpose. And just like a simple table fork, it has purity of purpose. I LOVE it!

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