Jean-Louis Mourey’s 1989 film, ‘Climb Dance’, is one of the most evocative motorsport films of all time. It captures a defining moment in Peugeot’s history, when the marque found success in nearly every motorsport event it entered.
Back in 1984, European rally cars descended on the Colorado mountain with Norwegian Rallycrosser Martin Schanche (in a Ford Escort), followed by Audi’s Michèle Mouton, who won the Open Rally category in a Sport Quattro with co-driver Fabrizia Pons.
But it wasn’t until 1988 that the outright record was broken, as Ari Vatanen took his Peugeot 405 T16 up its treacherous twists and turns in 10 minutes 47.77 seconds. Peugeot won the hill climb a second time in 1989, this time with the USA’s Robby Unser behind the wheel, and so history was made.
Peugeot were (literally) on a high, but the fall from those giddy heights was equally swift. Apart from WRC titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002 their trophy cabinet has been bare and generations of enthusiasts have never known the significance of those letters – ‘T16’.
Thankfully, in 2013 all that will change, for Peugeot are returning to Pikes Peak with the 208 T16, and they’ll have reigning World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb at the wheel.
It’s about bl**dy time.
Peugeot’s all-new 208 T16 Pikes Peak has been entered in the premier ‘Unlimited’ class and has been given the start number ‘208’. The top-secret car, due to be unveiled later next month, will have one objective which is to win the ‘Race to the Clouds’.
Maxime Picat, Director General Automobiles Peugeot said: “Our objective is to win, so we needed to stack up as many cards as possible in our favour by joining forces with the very best partners for this unique project, namely Total, Red Bull, Michelin and Sébastien Loeb.
“Indeed, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Citroën for this one-off ‘loan’ of its exceptional champion.”
The 208 T16 is just one of many competition versions of the 208, which include the 208 R2, the 208 Racing Cup and the 208 GTi Peugeot Sport. The latter will take part in this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours as part of the 208 GTi Racing Experience, which will run in parallel to the 208 GTi’s launch.
This year’s event takes place on June 27th, when competitors will attempt to beat the best time to date (10m 1.408s) which was posted in 2007 by Nobuhiro Tajima at the wheel of his Suzuki Sport XL7 Hill Climb Special.
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