Peugeot’s Pikes Peak racer packs 875 hp, taking Sébastien Loeb to the clouds
Despite the Pikes Peak Hill Climb swapping slippery gravel for sticky asphalt last year, there's no denying its unforgiving nature. The 156-turn monster, starting at 9,400 ft. and finishing at 14,111 ft., ditches the tire barriers and guard rails associated with traditional racing for trees, rocks, and sheer cliffs in replacement. Nine-time consecutive World Rally Champion, Sébastien Loeb, remains unfazed by these dangers, but the vehicle created by Peugeot with the intent of winning this year's classic might prove more daunting than the road itself. The 208 T16 Pikes Peak machine will pack 875 hp and weigh just 1,929 lbs. It promises to be one of the fastest machines to ever race the Colorado clouds.
One fact aiding Loeb's challenge stems from the crisp Colorado air — or lack thereof. For every 328 ft. climbed, the engine tends to lose one percent of power. Certain engines lose 30 percent just by arriving at the start line, not to mention the additional loss as the climb progresses. For Loeb's Peugeot, the insane starting power stands to put the French duo in good stead.
Peugeot have a lasting history with racing, and it's that connection that bred life to its hill climb challenger. The twin-turbo V-6 derives from Peugeot Sport's endurance powerplant, and the genes of the 208 T16 Pikes Peak racer are shared with the brand's Le Mans 24 Hour-winning 908. The massive rear wing, more at home on one of Vin Diesel's cars, stems from the first-generation 908 HDi, and measures two meters in width. Unlike Fast and the Furious, this wing isn't just for show; rather it enables massive downforce to ensure the four-wheeled rocket remains planted to the asphalt, rather than attempting to fly off the mountain.
The objective for Peugeot remains clear: Become the "King of the Peak." And with a machine boasting more power than a Formula One car, piloted by arguably the greatest rally driver of all-time, the odds of conquering the clouds lay firmly in the hands of the French.