Sebastien Loeb amazed with the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak

Article by Anita Panait, on May 13, 2013

Sebastien Loeb is a nine-time consecutive WRC world champion, and yet he was still amazed by Peugeot’s latest offering – the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak. Upon arriving at a high-security track at La Ferté-Vidame in France, Loeb believed he was just doing a routine test session. But after a few laps with the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak, he felt he was in for a new kind of thrill.

After the session, Loeb compared the 208 T16 Pikes Peak to a rocket, saying it is “so powerful!” He said that each gear change “practically stuns you.” He added that shifts are “brutal,” saying that and it takes a little time “to anticipate the sudden jarring.” But what really amazed Loeb is the 208 T16 Pikes Peak’s acceleration. “I’ve never driven anything that accelerates so fast!” Loeb said.

He remarked that in the lower gears, a Formula 1 car doesn’t deliver maximum power, but the 208 T16 Pikes Peak’s pull-away performance is phenomenal. He said that a driver of the vehicle could find himself in sixth gear at “240kph in no time at all.”

Powered by an engine that provides up to 875 hp, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak could accelerate from zero to 100 kph in just 1.8 seconds, good enough to leave any F1 car behind.

Loeb was also impressed by the 208 T16 Pikes Peak’s aerodynamic downforce, wide tires and braking. More specifically, he said that the car has the downforce of an F1 car, the wide tires of an endurance racing prototype and a differential of a WRC car.

Press Release

SÉBASTIEN LOEB: “THE PEUGEOT 208 T16 PIKES PEAK IS A ROCKET”

Sébastien Loeb has had his first opportunity to sample the 208 T16 Pikes Peak he is poised to drive in Colorado on 30th June. The nine times World Rally Champion believes he has the ultimate machine to help him win the famous ‘Race to the Clouds’. The next step will be to fully tame the 875hp beast …

When Sébastien Loeb’s helicopter landed alongside the high security track at La Ferté-Vidame, in North Western France, the rally star believed he was in for a routine test session. After just a handful of laps in the car, he realised that this was something different however… “The 208 T16 Pikes Peak is a rocket! It’s so powerful! The first time you drive it, each gear change practically stuns you. The shifts are really brutal, and it takes a little time to anticipate the sudden jarring. You get used to it, but it was quite disorienting to begin with.”

The Frenchman may have seen it all on world rallying’s most challenging stages, but his words were far from blasé after his first taste of the 208 T16 Pikes Peak. “I’ve never driven anything that accelerates so fast!” he remarked. “In the lower gears, a Formula 1 car doesn’t deliver maximum power. With the Peugeot, though, it’s bang, bang, bang as you move up the box from standstill. Due to its four-wheel drive transmission and turbocharged engine, its pull-away performance is phenomenal! You find yourself in sixth gear at 150mph in no time at all!” Indeed, with a 0-62mph (100kph) time of 1.8s, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak would leave any F1 car standing…

It is not only the gearbox which made a big impression on rallying’s superstar. “Due to its aerodynamic downforce and wide tyres, its braking is amazing, too.” he exclaimed. “The 208 package is a combination of the best of several worlds: it’s got the downforce of a Formula 1 car, the wide tyres of an endurance racing prototype and a differential, like a WRC car…” In short, it’s a cocktail that gives you wings…

As the familiarisation process continued, Sébastien Loeb was clearly won over by the unique experience: “I have driven many types of car in my career, but this is very, very different. Its acceleration, performance and stopping power are more like those of a Formula 1 single-seater than a rally car. Its handling is fantastic as well; there’s so much grip, and the all-wheel drive transmission makes it very stable. It’s got huge potential.”

Like any thoroughbred, however, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak will need to be broken in, since Sébastien Loeb has no intention of allowing the car to be the one in control. On the contrary; with nine World Rally titles to his name, he approaches the mission with his trademark calm: “This track isn’t very wide and there aren’t any run-offs, so I’m taking things one step at a time. I don’t know what the car’s limits are yet but it was important to do this run on a circuit today. Now we have a better idea of where we stand and a better overview of the car’s potential. After that, the challenge will be to try to feel totally at one with the car on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb itself. That will take some work…”

When the big day comes to race to the Colorado summit at an altitude of 4,301 metres, Sébastien Loeb will need to be capable of mastering every buck and kick of the thoroughbred if he is to steer clear of the many pitfalls that await him along the giddy 20-kilometre course. And that will require perfect osmosis between the French champion and his extremely powerful steed.

To give this fusion every chance of happening, Peugeot Sport has scheduled a busy test programme at circuits, on roads and at altitude as the next phase of this extraordinary project which the multiple World Rally Champion finds particularly stimulating: “I really can’t wait to get to drive the 208 T16 Pikes Peak in Colorado!” A little patience, Sébastien - there is now less than two months to go …

Topics: peugeot, peugeot 208

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