Peugeot unveils updated 2008 DKR16 rally car

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 22, 2015

French carmaker Peugeot has unveiled an updated version of the Peugeot 2008 DKR, which marked its debut with a breathtaking participation at the epic Dakar Rally in January. 

With inputs from Dakar experts like Stéphane Peterhansel (11-time Dakar champ), Carlos Sainz (a two-time world rally champion and former Dakar winner) and Cyril Despres (a five-time Dakar winner on bikes), engineers were able to precisely analyze and implement possible improvements to create the latest version of the 2008 DKR.

Peugeot gradually applied the improvements and assessed them by conducting a series of tests. The tests culminated in a one-two finish for Peterhansel and Despres on the recent China Silk Road Rally. Peterhansel and Despres piloted an interim-specification car, which basically was the 2015 model that had been fitted with several development parts for the 2016 version.

Both Peterhansel and Sainz piloted the 2008 DKR16 over several stages of its development, concluding that the new car provided greater drivability, power and traction than the original version. According to Peterhansel, a driver can feel the difference since the new car is longer and wider, and has a lower center.

He added that the new car is also more stable, which means cornering speeds are faster. Peterhansel noted that the engine is not only more powerful, but its power can be tapped even at low revs. He added that while the new car has yet to reach the maximum of its capabilities -- especially that there is a ‘problem’ on how to manage its power most effectively – its testing has been productive.

Sainz, meanwhile, focused on the development work and managed to acquire lots of experience of the new car. He remarked that the potential of the 2008 DKR16 is much bigger than it was a year ago, adding that its reliability has been solid. He noted that since the 2008 DKR16 underwent changes in several key areas, it could be called a completely new car compared to the original version.

The final test for the new 2008 DKR was done in Morocco and was overseen by Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin for signing off. Famin noted that the 2008 DKR16 was not a result of one big change but a series of small evolutions in different areas that would give rise to an overall improvement.

He disclosed that Peugeot focused on areas like bodywork, aerodynamics, engine and suspension. Famin remarked that all tests on the new 2008 DKR indicate that Peugeot is heading in the right direction. He noted that unlike works on the original 2008 DKR when everything was new to Peugeot, they are now more ready for the new 2008 DKR16.

Exterior Design

The latest version of that car – the Peugeot 2008 DKR16 -- is now longer, wider, lower and possesses more potential than the previous variant.

Aside from having a more imposing stance, the Peugeot 2008 DKR16 is also accorded with a number of improvements on its looks and its performance. Exterior enhancements include the reduction of the front and rear overhangs, which should improve the 2008 DKR’s ability to cruise anywhere.

With shorter front and rear overhangs, the car is more able to tackle obstacles like river bends and sand dunes. To improve its aerodynamics, Peugeot dramatically revamped the bonnet and roof-mounted air-intake of the 2008 DKR16, resulting to a more balanced downforce between front and rear.

This latest version of the Peugeot 2008 DKR also features a new air scoop for better airflow. Serving as the core of the Peugeot 2008 DKR16 is the 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo, which now boasts of more power despite the air restrictor. The French brand also improved the drivability of the engine to allow it to better tackle twisty roads.

It also made sure that it has good weight distribution. Moreover, Peugeot redesigned the car’s suspension to allow it to adapt more effectively with the different and rough terrains. Its magnesium one-piece wheels are wrapped in lighter Michelin tires, replacing the aluminum two-piece wheels installed on the previous version of the Peugeot 2008 DKR16.

The choice of new wheels and tires allowed Peugeot to make the 2008 DKR16 much lighter than its predecessor. The development work for the new Peugeot 2008 DKR16 commenced as soon as the original version completed the Dakar Rally in January in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Press Release


An updated version of the two-wheel drive beast that made its debut on the epic Dakar Rally in January has been revealed.

This latest evolution of the car, which is scheduled to make its competitive debut later in the year before heading to South America, is longer, wider, lower and more powerful than its predecessor: presenting a more aggressive stance, with a raft of improvements under the skin as well.

The front and rear overhangs have been reduced, enhancing the car’s go-anywhere ability. This is vital when it comes to tackling the varied obstacles, such as sand dunes, river beds and huge rocks, that characterise the Dakar, making it one of the last true sporting adventures left on earth.

The PEUGEOT 2008 DKR16 also benefits from improved aerodynamics: the bonnet and roof-mounted air-intake have been heavily revised in order to provide more balanced downforce between front and rear. The new air scoop also ensures better airflow.

Other evolutions lie under its carbon skin. The suspension has been redesigned to deal more effectively with the different and rough terrains. It also benefits from better weight distribution, as well as magnesium one-piece wheels for the first time, matched to lighter tyres from Michelin. These replace the aluminium two-piece wheels from last year, with the combination resulting in a significant weight saving.

The new car has been a continual work in progress, with development work starting as soon as the original car crossed the finish ramp in Buenos Aires just over seven months ago, at the conclusion of this year’s Dakar.

PEUGEOT’s engineers went over their ‘Lion’ piece by piece, analysing what could be done better, with the help of its Dakar experts Stéphane Peterhansel (an 11-time winner), Carlos Sainz (a two-time world rally champion and also former Dakar winner) and Cyril Despres (a five-time Dakar winner on bikes).

These improvements were gradually applied and assessed through a series of tests, culminating in a one-two finish for Peterhansel and Despres on the recent China Silk Road Rally, using an interim-specification car. This was essentially the 2015 model with a number of development parts for 2016 added.

There are some surprises under the bonnet as well. Despite the air restrictor, the 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel engine now has more power. The driveability of the engine is increased too, which will be particularly useful during twisty stages.

PEUGEOT SPORT Director Bruno Famin, overseeing the final test in Morocco to sign off the latest incarnation of PEUGEOT’s Dakar challenger, commented: “There isn’t one big change that we have made on our car: instead it has been a series of small evolutions in different areas, which together we hope will amount to an overall improvement. The areas we have concentrated on include bodywork and aerodynamics – as a result of which the car looks slightly different compared to last year – as well as engine and suspension, which is all under the skin. The tests we have carried out up to now, as well as our one-two finish in China recently, indicate that we are heading in the right direction. You really cannot compare our state of preparation now to how it was for our first Dakar this time last year, when everything was new to us! Of course you can never say that you are completely ready for the Dakar either, because you simply never know what it will throw at you, but certainly this time we are more ready.”

Peterhansel and Sainz have driven the new car through the different phases of its development and found it to be a useful step forward from its predecessor, providing greater driveability, power and traction.

Peterhansel, who gave the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR its first-ever overall win in China, said: “You can really feel the difference now that the car is longer and wider, with a lower centre of gravity, because it’s a lot more stable so cornering speeds are faster. You can feel the difference in the engine as well: not only is it more powerful, but you can also use all the power even at low revs. We’ve almost got a ‘problem’ now of how to manage all that power most effectively, but this is a very nice problem to have. We’re still not at the maximum of our capabilities, but testing has been very productive so far.”

Sainz stayed behind to concentrate on development work rather than competing in China. As a result, he has accumulated plenty of experience of the brand new challenger. The Spaniard added: “It’s been good testing and the car has been running really well. The potential of the car is much, much bigger than it was at this time last year and reliability has been solid too. We’ve changed quite a lot in the car in many key areas, so really we can call this one a completely new car compared to last year. I feel optimistic.”

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