Competing in the ‘unlimited class’, Peugeot’s 208 T16 Pikes Peak will be powered by an 863bhp bi-turbo mid-mounted 3.2-litre V6 engine.
Based on the same unit developed for endurance racing, the 208 T16 tips the scales at 875kg and is Peugeot’s take on the ultimate, no-holds-barred racing machine capable of reaching the 4,301 metre peak faster than anyone has previously achieved.
“Your imagination is the only limit when you set out to design a car for Pikes Peak,” grins Jean-Christophe Pallier, the Peugeot Sport engineer tasked with the 208 T16 Pikes Peak project. “Designing this car was a tremendously rewarding experience, even though we still had to take the ‘time’ factor into account…”
According to Peugeot, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak will accelerate from rest to 62mph in 1.8 seconds, to 125mph in 4.8 seconds and 150mph in 7.0 seconds, that compares with McLaren’s P1 hypercar which covers the first two increments in 3.0 seconds and a little under 7.0 seconds. The 208 T16’s top speed peaks at 150mph, which is more than fast enough on a twisty hill climb with so many sheer vertical drops..
“In the case of a normally-aspirated engine, you basically lose one percent of the available power every 100 metres you climb,” notes Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin.
“A powerful engine is therefore essential, since around 30 per cent of its power is lost during the Colorado hill climb as the air becomes more rarefied nearer the summit.”
In its race to the clouds, Peugeot Sport has paid careful attention to the weight of the car which Sébastien Loeb will drive, “We’ve shaved it down to 875kg,” said Pallier. “As a result, we have achieved the magic and symbolic power-to-weight ratio of 1:1!”
For optimum agility, the engine is mounted in a mid-rear position, just like the famous Group B rally cars of the 1980s.
The tubular-framed machine has been fine tuned aerodynamically, fitted with a two-metre wide rear wing originally used on the 908 HDi FAP endurance racer. In fact, given the fully tarmac surface of the hill climb the 208 T16 is in effect an out-and-out endurance racing prototype.
“We believe efficient aerodynamics can give us a competitive edge over our rivals,” notes Pallier. “The speeds reached during the ascension range from 30 to 150mph, and aerodynamics play a key role from 60mph.”
While the rear wing and front splitter look spectacular, much of the car’s downforce is achieved out of sight – with underfloor design contributing nearly half the car’s downforce.
Finally, a set of custom Michelin racing slicks keep the whole car glued to the road through the ascent’s 156 turns.
Unlike in previous years, 2013’s event will be broadcast live, thanks to Red Bull Media House (Loeb’s sponsors), so come 30th June make sure you’re tuned into the livestream on RedBull TV.