Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak : Reaching for the clouds with one horsepower per kilogram!
The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is the only race in the world that permits the fantasy of freeing the beast that lurks at the back of every engineer’s mind to become reality! The very mention of the event and its celebrated ‘Unlimited’ class is enough to bring a twinkle to the eyes of any designer. “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…”
The giddy altitudes visited by the Colorado hill climb present a unique technical challenge: that of ensuring the engines are able to breathe as freely as possible in the rarefied air… “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. This is a fundamental parameter that has to be taken into account for this race which starts at an altitude of 2,865 metres and finishes at 4,301 metres! By the time they reach the start line, certain engines automatically shed some 30 percent of their potential. A powerful engine is consequently essential because there can be no question of Sébastien Loeb lacking power on the day. Peugeot Sport’s answer is a derivative of the bi-turbo V6 which was designed for endurance racing. With this 875-horsepower powerplant under the bonnet, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak will boast even more power than a Formula 1 single-seater! It goes without saying that it will be the most powerful car ever driven by world rallying’s multiple champion. This will be motorsport in the extreme, especially since the guard rails that are a hallmark of traditional circuits make way for steep drops in the case of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb…