Apr 23

Peugeot at Pikes Peak with Sebastien Loeb


The Pikes Peak Hill Climb has a storied 91 year history and recent years have seen a resurgence in major manufacturer involvement. Hit the jump for pictures of Peugeot’s latest Pikes Peak racer and a short video of what it looked like last time a Peugeot went up the mountain.


DSC_0138 by CST10, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  CST10 

Initially created as a publicity stunt to increase tourism on the Pikes Peak Highway, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb has been raced since 1916.  For much of it’s history the road was unpaved but Sierra Club concerns about the environment, wrongly attributed to the damage done by the race, resulted in the final section being paved in 2011.

For Pikes Peak die hards the idea of paving the entire route caused concern that the historic race would be canceled.  Fortunately, the newly resurfaced course has resulted in even more participation and a dramatic increase in big dollar factory efforts.

With factory participation from the likes of Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, and Peugeot 2013 promises to be an exciting race.

Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes PeakPeugeot’s effort marks the first time they have been back to the mountain since their win in 1989.  Not only are they returning to Pikes Peak with a new car, they have tapped 9 time WRC champion Sebastien Leob to drive the new Peugeot 208 T16.  This isn’t the first time Peugeot has come to the mountain with a champion rally driver. Their debut year saw rally legend Ari Vatanen set a new unlimited class record in the Peugeot 405 Turbo.

It looked something like this.


Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak frontPeugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak rear

Official press release from Peugeot:

Colorado Springs, April 15———-Though specific technical details are not yet available, Peugeot Sport has released the first official pictures of its 208 T16 Pikes Peak auto that will be driven by nine-time WRC Champion Sebastien Loeb of France at the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 30.

The car that PPIHC rookie Loeb will drive in the Unlimited division is described by Peugeot Sport in a press release which was distributed this weekend as “aggressive, racy and ferocious.”.

Anything goes in the Unlimited Division as long as it passes safety inspection. The Unlimited Division features the most exotic vehicles, most of them built specifically for this race. These race cars have the best chance of setting a new overall race record. There are no restrictions on horsepower or a menu of other technical details. Some recent unlimited entries have exceeded 1000 horsepower, in fact.

“Its proportions are very different to those of the production 208,” said Michael Trouvé, who is in charge of the silhouette design at Peugeot’s Styling Center. “This difference gives it an almost beast-like appearance. Peugeot Sport provide us with a number of technical constraints, such as the width, body height, location of the wheels and engine, and we worked to this brief to produce an extreme take on the 208.”

The work of Trouvé and his colleague, Attila Bocsi, has resulted in a car with a unique stance. “The cars which represent the brand in motorsport have always tended to feature sculpted forms which combine style and aerodynamic efficiency. The 208 T16 Pikes Peak is no exception, and it incorporates all the distinctive hallmarks of the 208 which itself marks a new generation of Peugeot design,” says Trouvé.  “I am very proud to have played a part in this adventure, especially since we didn’t have much time to work on the car’s design, because the green light was only given in November and the project sign-off until February.”

Peugeot’s entry marks its first attempt on Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, since back-to-back triumphs in its 405 T16 model in 1988 and 1989 by Ari Vatanen and RobbyUnser in the Open Rally division, which now is the Unlimited division.

Driving for Citroën’s World Rally Team, Loeb won every World Rally Championship from 2004-2012 and is running in third place in this year’s series. He’s being loaned to Peugeot for Pikes Peak in an attempt to win the famed race, which began in 1916.

Loeb finished second in the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, and was named the French Sportsman of the Year in 2007 and 2009.

Last summer, he won the Gold medal in Rally Car Racing at the X Games in Los Angeles in addition to his lengthy list of triumphs. He’s won the Monte Carlo rally in seven of the last eight outings, too.

His entry in the 12-driver Unlimited division means that he will up against the legendary Rhys Millen, who established the all-time speed record on the Peak last year with a clocking of 9:46.164 in the Time Attack division. Millen has moved to the Unlimited field this year in a new purpose-built Hyundai PM580T.

“Pikes Peak is a one-off outing which has the potential to generate extensive media coverage and which meets the constraints of the current context.” said Peugeot CEO Maxime Picat. “It is a legendary race that has inspired all the Brand’s teams who have mobilized behind the project which targets outright victory. It is also a tough, exceptional challenge which leaves no room for error. In other words, it’s exactly the sort of challenge that Peugeot adores.”

Peugeot has maximized its chances of winning by enlisting the support of some of the biggest and best partners for the project, including Total, Red Bull, Michelin as well as nine-time World Rally champion Loeb.