Around a hundred years ago, on May 30, 1916, a Peugeot L45 piloted by Dario Resta emerged victorious at the Indianapolis 500 race, cruising at an average speed of 135 km/h. It was one of the three wins that Peugeot and the "Charlatans" team carved on the Indy 500 speedway between 1913 and 1919. Now, the sports car maker is unwrapping a futuristic interpretation of this winning spirit as a tribute to those victories – the new Peugeot L500 R Hybrid. Featuring an asphalt-hugging body, a wide track, a low profile of just one meter in height, and a weight of only 1,000 kg, the new Peugeot L500 R HYbrid is definitely built to perform.
It is powered by a plug-in hybrid petrol powertrain developed by Peugeot Sport teams. This hybrid powertrain employs two electric motors - one on the front and another on the rear – and a 270 hp petrol engine with a total output of 500 bhp and peak torque of 730 Nm. This powertrain is enough to make the Peugeot L500 R HYbrid accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 2.5 seconds and reach a kilometer in just 19 seconds.
In terms of styling, the Peugeot L500 R Hybrid features sleek lines flowing from the lion badge on the radiator grille towards the driver, and then in a streamlined rear feature. On the rear, these lines highlight the three unique rear lamp claws that now serve as part of the brand’s current design.
Its forward-looking design pays homage to the proven prowess of previous models while flaunting a number of current design cues like the front light signature first seen on the Peugeot 3008 SUV. Other current Peugeot design cues found on the Peugeot L500 R Hybrid include the blue and black color scheme that alludes to the 500-bhp petrol hybrid drivetrain and to the color of the original L45 DNA.
Peugeot has created the L500 R Hybrid to amplify one’s racing experience via the prospective concept of the Peugeot holographic i-Cockpit, which is designed to become an individual floating capsule enclosed in the bodywork.
This i-Cockpit features a small steering wheel and two holograms that show relevant information in dual disc displays. Moreover, the original L45 two-seat architecture has been reinterpreted to become a single-seat platform that offers a virtual co-pilot a real-time racing experience using a virtual reality headset. As a racing concept tribute, the new Peugeot L500 R HYbrid pays tribute not only to the L45 and to Peugeot's rich racing history past in the United States.
The L45 was the successor of the L76, which was assembled by a team of young drivers called "Charlatans." This team managed to create a new series of racers that opened a new era in racing engine design through 1919. In fact, the L76 was the first car in the world to be equipped with a four-cylinder engine, featuring four valves per cylinder and a dual overhead camshaft. Likewise, the L76 was the first modern racing car to achieve speeds of 190 km/h.
Driving Peugeot's first racers -- L76, L57, L3 and L45 -- the Charlatans was able to grab win after win with drivers like Georges Boillot, Jules Goux and Paolo Zuccarelli, and engineer Ernest Henry. The team’s racing spirit lived on and was behind Peugeot Sport’s fateful wins in the US, including the Pikes Peak hill race with Peugeot 405 T16 in 1988 (Ari Vatanen) and 1989 (Robby Unser).
That continued in 2013, when a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak piloted by Sébastien Loeb broke the climb record by completing the 20-km run in 8'13"878. Peugeot also logged four historical wins at Dakar between 1987 and 1990, with Stéphane Peterhansel marking Peugeot’s return to the rally.