Throwback Thursday: Inside The Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak



For this Throwback Thursday put up, we’re as soon as once more winding the clock again 10 years to October 2013, when Speedhunters acquired up shut and private with Peugeot’s 208 T16 Pikes Peak.

Just a few months prior, the motorsport world watched as nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb bettered the then present Pikes Peak Worldwide Hill Climb file (Rhys Millen, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, 9:46.164, PPIHC 2012) by greater than 90 seconds. Loeb’s 8:13.878 run up the 12.42-mile course had many individuals questioning (ourselves included) whether or not the time might ever be crushed. There was good purpose to suppose this too, as Peugeot had thrown all of it on the 2013 Pikes Peak Worldwide Hill Climb – the twenty fifth anniversary of the French automaker’s historic first PPIHC win – by engineering an 875hp/875kg automotive and enlisting one of many world’s biggest drivers to ship it up the hill. In fact, rather a lot can change in a decade, nevertheless it solely took 5 years for Peugeot/Loeb’s file to fall. And 5 years on, Romain Dumas’s 07:57.148 file time set within the all-electric Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak nonetheless stands.

No matter that although, the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak lives on in PPIHC historical past as a merely unbelievable machine.


Making Historical past

Ever because the earliest years of motoring, man has been on the lookout for methods to go quicker. The pursuit of final efficiency by way of pace is how the Thrust SSC grew to become the primary land-based car to go supersonic when RAF pilot Andy Inexperienced pointed it to 763mph (1,228km/h) on the Black Rock Desert again in 1997, and why final yr, Antron Brown went zero to 300 meters (NHRA’s Prime Gasoline class mandate) in 3.70 seconds at 328mph.

Though the Pikes Peak Worldwide Hill Climb –  a 19.99-kilometer lengthy, 156-corner deep ascent from an altitude of two,865 meters by way of 4,301 meters – is about as far eliminated as you will get from land pace file proving grounds or a straight, flat, drag strip; ever because the first working of the occasion on ‘America’s Mountain’ virtually 100 years in the past, the bar has repeatedly been raised.


The dramatic lunar-esque panorama that helps outline the world’s most well-known hill climb hasn’t modified since Rea Wentz set the unique tempo with a 20:55.600 time in his Romano Demon Particular on the 1916 occasion’s characteristic race, however full paving of the difficult highway course and a consequent provision that has allowed the usage of full slick tyres, make the PPIHC a really completely different beast to the one it initially was. Some stated the ‘Race to the Clouds’ would fade away into oblivion as soon as the Pikes Peak Freeway misplaced its authentic all-dirt DNA, however following the occasion of 30 June 2013, it looks like extra of a brand new starting.


That, in fact, is thanks partially to the driving abilities of this man: nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb.


And this machine: Peugeot’s mind-numbing 208 T16 Pikes Peak.


As he does yearly, Larry delivered some superb post-event protection from this yr’s PPIHC, however just a few days previous to Loeb rewriting the file books together with his unfathomably-quick 8m13.878-second dash to the summit, Sean was invited to take a behind-the-scenes have a look at Peugeot Sport’s operation throughout a personal take a look at session at Pikes Peak Worldwide Speedway.


A possibility to see one of many biggest triumphs of efficiency automotive engineering with its garments off? Some issues in life simply don’t require a second thought.

Engineered To Win


Though the 208 T16 programme got here collectively in a really brief house of time, you may say that Peugeot’s return to Pikes Peak was 25 years within the making. In spite of everything, the French automaker was hardly going to let the essential anniversary of Ari Vatanen’s successful drive in its 405 T16, a savage machine spawned from the Group B period of rallying and the gruelling Paris Dakar endurance race, move quietly.


As many who’ve tried will attest, engineering a automotive to win the PPIHC is simpler stated than completed – not to mention in simply six brief months. However amazingly, that’s all the time Peugeot Sport had been allotted forward of its first scheduled shakedown. Constructing one thing fully from scratch was by no means going to be potential given the constraints, however with a workforce of gifted engineers and a profitable Le Mans prototype endurance racing programme to attract upon, it knew the place to start out.


In a lot the identical manner Peugeot engineered its 205 T16 to tackle Audi’s Sport Quattro and Lancia’s Delta S4 throughout rallying’s wildest years, the 208 T16 contains a tubular chrome-moly metal chassis wrapped in custom-formed carbon fibre panels.


To be able to obtain Peugeot Sport’s desired kerb weight of simply 875 kilograms, excessive measures had been taken – maybe nowhere extra evident than within the building of the doorways. As you possibly can see, these are primarily made up of some layers of carbon fibre and skinny polycarbonate home windows.


Related Group-B-meets-modern-day methodology has been taken beneath the light-weight composite pores and skin too, with four-wheel drive and a high-powered turbocharged engine.


The latter is an evolution of the 3.2-litre DOHC 24-valve 60-degree V6 Peugeot ES9 JS4 unit that Braveness utilised in its Pescarolo C60 Le Mans prototype. Initially Peugeot Sport had toyed with the concept of creating the hybrid (diesel turbo and electrical) powerplant from its factory-entered 908 HDi Le Mans racer for the 208 T16 utility, however provided that engine’s bodily dimensions and weight – to not point out the time constraints imposed upon them – the untravelled highway was rapidly dominated out.


That made the ES9 the apparent alternative. In Le Mans guise the engine had generated greater than 500 dependable horsepower with energy-sapping FIA restrictors in its turbocharger inlets, however with a revised pair of Garrett compressors and completely no requirement to be corked up for the Peak, Peugeot Sport’s 875 horsepower aim – for a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio – was by no means going to be too a lot of a stretch.


Seeing all that energy to the bottom as successfully as potential, required a driveline specification of equal magnitude. Peugeot Sport tapped into its WRC sources for the transmission, integrating a six-speed sequential gearbox in a longitudinal place and equipping it with steering column mounted paddle shifters.


The remainder of the driveline, and in reality the remainder of its underbody componentry, is all derived from the Le Mans 908, however tailored to suit across the 208 T16’s {custom} chassis. That features the suspension design, which revolves round double wishbones and pushrod/rocker arm actuation in any respect 4 corners, together with torsion bars, pressurised dampers, and adjustable anti-roll bars.


The Brembo brakes are 908 fare too; particularly 380mm vented carbon fibre rotors and six-pot monoblock callipers on the entrance finish, and a 355mm package deal on the rear.


Engineered utilizing Formulation 1 expertise, the 18×13-inch OZ Racing wheels in any respect 4 corners characteristic magnesium building. After which there are the tyres: 31/71×18 slicks that Michelin designed and manufactured completely for the 208 T16 and the record-chasing problem.


Unsurprisingly, there’s been a no-nonsense strategy to the inside house, the place the main focus as soon as extra has been on weight minimisation – though not on the expense of security.


It’s right here the place you’ll additionally discover an intricate net of 4130 metal bars that kind each the chassis and the occupant cell, in addition to supporting different gadgets such because the steering mechanism.


For optimum weight distribution, ancillary gadgets are unfold evenly across the cockpit and, like just about each different Pikes Peak Limitless class automotive, the motive force seat is centrally mounted.

Peak Efficiency


In the event you needed to decide the 208 T16’s one defining characteristic, absolutely it must be the best way it seems to be. Based mostly – and I take advantage of that time period very loosely right here – off Peugeot’s 208 manufacturing automotive,  the outward design of the Pikes Peak machine was executed at Peugeot’s Design Heart utilizing dimensions and parameters set by Peugeot Sport.


With speeds on the hill ranging between 50km/h on the tight hairpin turns by way of to 240km/h on the longer straights, the aerodynamic side of the construct was massively essential. However with no time to prototype a scale mannequin and undertake wind tunnel testing, Peugeot Sport turned to Exa Company and its PowerFLOW simulation software program (which had been beforehand utilised on its 908 programme) to completely maximise the efficiency of the T16’s downforce aids.


There are various elements to the aero package deal, however from a visible standpoint the pièce de résistance is a two-meter extensive wing that Peugeot Sport derived instantly from the first-generation 908 HDi FAP endurance racer.


As radical and aggressive as its outward look may be although, beneath the automotive is the place a full-length carbon fibre under-tray resides, and that, based on Peugeot Sport, is the place virtually half of the 208 T16’s downforce is generated.


Mixed, the aero aids supplied the Peugeot with sufficient downforce that throughout the automotive’s vigorous shakedown, Loeb likened it to a Formulation 1 automotive.


With a lot invested into Peugeot’s Pikes Peak comeback, to not point out that 25-year anniversary of its iconic first win, Loeb was below enormous stress to ship a successful efficiency. However, if there was anybody on this planet who might be relied upon to deliver residence the title, it’s the person they name Le Patron – translation: The Boss.


Peugeot knew it had a automotive and the crew greater than able to rewriting the file, however there’s a lot extra to successful the Pikes Peak Worldwide Hill Climb, provided that all of it boils right down to only one single run up the hill. The climate as an illustration, can change in a blink of an eye fixed on this harsh setting, as previous winners Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima and Rod Millen each came upon throughout their particular person makes an attempt within the Electrical Division.


However, as everyone knows, it was a dream run – and two-seconds faster than Peugeot Sport’s calculations prompt the time the automotive might obtain if pushed faultlessly in excellent situations. Loeb’s common pace: 145km/h.


It’s been stated that the 8m13.878-second record-rewriting blast up the mountain might by no means be damaged, and provided that total second place getter and 2012 PPIHC winner, Rhys Millen, completed greater than 50 seconds behind Loeb, if the day does come, it may be a while away. In keeping with Peugeot Sport head Bruno Famin, there is no such thing as a plan to return in try to boost the bar even additional. He hasn’t fully dominated out the concept although, particularly if one other producer determined to have crack, a lot in the identical manner Peugeot initially did, when it broke Audi’s stronghold in 1987. For now although, the feat made by one man and his wild machine on June 30, 2013 goes down within the historical past books as one of many biggest motoring achievements of all time.

Brad Lord

Photographs by Sean Klingelhoefer

2013 Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak

Numbers: 875hp/875kg, 0-100km/h: 1.8sec, 0-200km/h: 4.8sec, high pace: 240km/h

Engine: Peugeot Sport 3.2L, 60-degree V6, DOHC 24-valve, twin Garrett turbochargers, 40L gas cell

Driveline: 6-speed longitudinally-mounted sequential transmission with paddle shifters, Peugeot Sport LMP 908-derived four-wheel drive

Suspension/Brakes: Peugeot Sport LMP 908-dervied double wishbones and pushrod/rocker arm actuation in any respect 4 corners, torsion bars, pressurised dampers, anti-roll bars entrance/rear, hydraulic energy steering, vented carbon fibre brakes, rotors 380mm (entrance) 355mm (rear), monoblock callipers

Wheels/Tyres: 18×13-inch magnesium alloy wheels, custom-made Michelin 31/71×18 full slicks

Chassis: Peugeot Sport {custom} tubular metal chassis, {custom} 2013 Peugeot 208-inspired carbon fibre physique work, carbon fibre entrance splitter, carbon fibre below tray, carbon fibre rear diffuser, Peugeot Sport LMP 908-derived rear wing


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