Reaching for the clouds
Veteran World Rally Championship driver Sebastien Loeb recently completed initial test sessions with the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak at the La Ferte-Vidame track in France. The Frenchman was surprised with the car’s performance especially with its acceleration.
The all-wheel drive 208 T16 Pikes Peak race car is powered by a 3.2-liter twin turbo V6 engine that’s coupled to a six-speed sequential gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddle. It packs enough power to send the car from 0-100km/h in just 1.8 seconds before it reaches a speed of 200km/h within 4.8 seconds. Its top speed of 240 km/h meanwhile is achieved in just 7.0 seconds.
“I’ve never driven anything that accelerates so fast!” exclaimed Sebastien Loeb. “In the lower gears, a Formula 1 car doesn’t deliver maximum power. With the Peugeot, though, it’s bang, bang, bang as you move up the box from standstill. Thanks to its four-wheel drive transmission and turbocharged engine, its pull-away performance is phenomenal! You find yourself in sixth gear at 240kph in no time at all!” he added.
To keep the car as agile as possible, the weight was kept to a minimum (875kg) by wrapping the car’s tubular steel frame with carbon fiber bodywork. Its suspension system features double wishbone and rocker arm on all four corners. Braking power is ensured by the front and rear vented carbon discs.
“I have driven many types of car in my career, but this is very, very different. Its acceleration performance and stopping power are more like those of a Formula 1 single-seater than a rally car. Its handling is fantastic as well; there’s so much grip, and the all-wheel drive transmission makes it very stable. It’s got huge potential.” stated Loeb.
With less than two months to go, the next phase of Peugeot Sport’s test program with Sebastien Loeb is set to happen on several circuits, roads, and places with high altitudes to let Loeb familiarize himself with the race car and its limits.
“This track isn’t very wide and there aren’t any run-offs, so I’m taking things one step at a time. I don’t know what the car’s limits are yet but it was important to do this run on a circuit today. Now we have a better idea of where we stand and a better overview of the car’s potential. After that, the challenge will be to try to feel totally at one with the car on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb itself. That will take some work…” explained the nine-time WRC champion.