Sébastien Loeb challenges McLaren for Goodwood speed record supremacy

Alex Lloyd
March 20, 2014
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Sébastien Loeb and the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak

Sebastien Loeb

Fresh off his Pikes Peak record, becoming the first person in history to scale the iconic mountain route in under nine minutes, Sébastien Loeb and his 875-hp Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak racer has picked a new challenge for this June's hill ascent at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The time to beat: Nick Heidfeld's run from 1999, when he completed the 1.16 mile course in under 41.6 seconds.

That will be no easy task. "Quick Nick" managed the time aboard an MP4/13 McLaren Formula One car, back in the day when F1 missiles pushed close to 1,000 hp. However the narrow tarmac track might prove favorable to Loeb's chariot when it arrives in June, as it's more akin to a modern-day equivalent of a Group B rally car.

Unlike Pikes Peak, where the race to the clouds has transitioned from a treacherous gravel climb to one made of tarmac, Goodwood has changed little over the years. Being situated at sea-level as opposed to 14,000 ft. at the finish line, Loeb's Peugeot will maintain all 875 ponies; for every 328 ft. climbed, an engine tends to lose one percent of power.

Record attempts at Goodwood aren't all that frequent, with the hill climb a preferred venue for showcasing one's pristine 250 GTO. Or crashing a priceless concept car.

Hitting the climb alongside Loeb will be a prototype Acura NSX supercar, along with Ayrton Senna's old Honda NSX. BMW is reportedly sending its new i8 hybrid up the hill too. Of course none of these will challenge Heidfeld's record. However, Loeb and his Peugeot may well send a 15-year-record tumbling claiming another title for France as the king of yet another famous hill.