Loeb to attack Pikes Peak in awesome Peugeot 208 T16

Posted on Apr 25, 2013 by
The Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak boasts a power output of 875hp.

The T16 Pikes Peak boasts a power output of 875hp.

Following his near decade-long domination of the World Rally Championship, it seems that Sébastien Loeb, in his quest for fresh challenges, is determined to conquer the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

His weapon of choice has been provided by in the form of a singularly awesome machine known as the 208 T16 Pikes Peak. Boasting a power output of 875 horsepower, it tips the scales at just 875kg, and benefits from all-wheel drive, plus a spectacular aerodynamic package.

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Normally the mission of any race car designer is to juggle with the restrictions and constraints dictated by the regulations in areas like height, the forms of the body, the size and location of the powerplant, etc.

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is the only race in the world that permits the fantasy of freeing the beast that lurks at the back of every engineer’s mind to become reality! The very mention of the event and its celebrated ‘Unlimited’ class is enough to bring a twinkle to the eyes of any designer.

Your imagination is the only limit when you set out to design a car for Pikes Peak,” grins Jean-Christophe Pallier, the Peugeot Sport engineer tasked with the 208 T16 Pikes Peak project.

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The giddy altitudes visited by the Colorado hill climb present a unique technical challenge: that of ensuring the engine is able to breathe as freely as possible in the rarefied air.

In the case of a normally-aspirated engine, you basically lose one percent of the available power every 100 metres you climb,” notes Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin.

This is a fundamental parameter that has to be taken into account for this race which starts at an altitude of 2,865 metres and finishes at 4,301 metres. By the time they reach the start line, certain engines automatically shed some 30 percent of their potential.

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Peugeot Sport’s answer is a derivative of the bi-turbo V6 which was designed for endurance racing. With this 875-horsepower powerplant under the bonnet, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak will boast even more power than a Formula 1 single-seater!

In its bid to reach out to the clouds, Peugeot Sport has also paid careful attention to providing Sébastien Loeb with a particularly lightweight car.

We’ve shaved it down to 875kg. As a result, we have achieved the magic and symbolic power-to-weight ratio of 1:1,” observes Jean-Christophe Pallier.

Meanwhile, to be sure that the car’s handling is as agile as possible, the weight distribution of the tubular-framed machine has been fine-tuned, with the engine sitting in a mid-rear position, like the famous Group B rally cars of the 1980s and like endurance racing prototypes.

The 208 T16 Pikes Peak effectively shares its genes with those of the Le Mans 24 Hours-winning 908 in several areas. Last year’s Pikes Peak took place for the first time on an entirely asphalted course, so the machine conceived by Peugeot Sport is practically an out-and-out endurance racing prototype.

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Also like that of a Le Mans car, the 208’s aerodynamic package has been meticulously honed. The speeds reached during the ascension range from 30 to 150mph, and aerodynamics play a key role from 60mph. The 208 T16 Pikes Peak’s rear wing and front splitter are not only  spectacular, but also efficient. Although invisible, the design of the car’s under-tray is responsible for generating almost half the car’s downforce.

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