Tag Archives: PEUGEOT 208 T16 PIKES PEAK

Pikes Peak

Loeb 208 T16


After months of anticipation, Sébastien Loeb has shattered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record with a breath-taking time of 8m13.878s in the 208 T16 Pikes Peak. The Frenchman negotiated the 20 kilometres and 156 corners of the mountain at an average speed of 145kph.


Loeb’s time blitzed the previous best of 9m46.164s, set by Rhys Millen last year, with the top three finishers all beating the 2012 record. “For me, this was the race of the year,” said Loeb at the finish, 4300 metres high in the Rocky Mountains. “At the beginning of my run there was a bit of pressure for sure because I knew there was so much work and investment from Peugeot and all the partners. Now, after all the practice, it was just down to me and I had to perform.” image


Loeb started first of the Unlimited class cars, unleashing his 875-horsepower car onto the mountain this morning after all the motorcycle competitors had passed through. However there were a number of delays before he started, which meant that the team began to worry about bad weather: a common feature of Pikes Peak at high altitude. “When I was on the start line waiting to go, I could actually see the clouds closing in at the top of the mountain,” said Loeb. “I remember thinking that if we didn’t get going soon, it would be really difficult.” As it was, Loeb blasted his 208 T16 Pikes Peak through the clouds in a time that was even quicker than Peugeot Sport’s computer had thought was possible. The ideal theoretical time – calculated using data from Loeb’s practice runs up the Colorado mountain – was 8m15s. The nine-time world rally champion somehow managed to shave two seconds off that. “I’m really happy as that was a very good run in the end,” said Loeb. “I really didn’t expect anything better than 8m15s, so to do 8m13s was fantastic. Before the start I didn’t really know if I should push absolutely to the maximum or if I should just push to a comfortable pace, in order to make sure of the victory. In the end, I decided to push to the limit.” image


The result was spectacular, with Loeb now joining the pantheon of Pikes Peak winners; nearly one year to the day after he first conquered America by winning the rally cross finale of the X-Games on July 1, 2012. Despite his flat-out approach, the multiple champion didn’t even report any major moments, while his Peugeot has been completely reliable throughout the entire month it has been in America. “It was good, all under control from start to finish,” he concluded. “Apart from the potential of the weather turning bad, we didn’t have any worrying moments.” The scenes of success at Peugeot were reminiscent of 1988, when former world rally champion Ari Vatanen broke the Pikes Peak record for the French manufacturer exactly 25 years ago, with the 405 T16 Pikes Peak. Back then the benchmark was 10m47.220s on gravel roads – a sign of just how rapidly technology has evolved. In second place on the 91st ‘Race to the Sky’ this year was former record-holder Rhys Millen in his all-new Hyundai RMR PM580-T, 49 seconds behind Loeb with a time of 9m02.192s. Nonetheless, the New Zealander beat his own record – and he says that he’s determined to break the nine-minute barrier next year. image


I think it’s fair to say that we were racing for second place today,” saidMillen. “Myself and Romain Dumas had been really close throughout practice, but then I heard that his engine had unfortunately broken at the start. I knew I wasn’t going to beat Sebastien’s time, so I just decided to take no risks. You have to hand it to Loeb and Peugeot Sport: they were unbeatable. That time they set was simply incredible. When will it be beaten? It might never be…” For Loeb & Peugeot Sport, it was the end to a remarkable one-shot adventure that had taken them from early tests of the 208 T16 Pikes Peak at Mont Ventoux in France to the untrammelled mountains of Colorado: officially America’s highest state. Pikes Peak is a legend: the second-oldest car race in America after the Indy 500. And now Loeb – the new King of the Peak – and the Peugeot car are part of American history. image


King of the Peak 2013 – Q/R Sébastien Loeb

Sébastien Loeb has broken every record there is to break in the World Rally Championship but he’s not quite done with firsts yet. We caught up with the man who has not just blitzed the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb: instead comprehensively pulverized it with a blue and white sledgehammer built by Peugeot Sport…

Sébastien, what did it feel like to drive the 208 T16 Pikes Peak?

It’s definitely a very special feeling and a big moment. You have the downforce of a Le Mans car, with acceleration that is faster than a Formula One car, going through scenery that is a bit like rallying. It just comes out of corners like a cannonball; the traction is astounding. With steep drops either side, and so much work and investment going into this programme, you obviously can’t make any mistakes… It’s 20 kilometres of taking risks. There was a certain amount of pressure that I felt before the start, that’s true.”

How do you find the right balance between being quick enough to win but safe enough not go off?

Good question… In fact, before starting, I spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not to push to the maximum to get a really good record or whether or not just to push hard enough to get a result so that we could win. In the end, once I was in the car, I decided to push hard. I’d say I was pretty much on the limit of it with every corner. But it was OK, we didn’t have any moments at all.”

How does this win rank among all your other achievements?

“Well, I’m not going to say it’s like winning a rally title but it still means a lot. I always looked at Pikes Peak in the past and thought that it would be nice to do it one day, and now here I am. For me, with what I’m doing this season, it’s the race of the year. Of all the cars I’ve driven this year, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak is definitely the most fun. This one is a good record, which I think will be quite hard to beat.

How much of a worry was the weather today?

It was certainly a big worry as there were lots of delays to our start time; every time something else. We had some information from our weather forecasters that there would be rain after midday and then when we were waiting to start it seemed to be getting closer and closer to midday. I thought that if we didn’t get on with it soon, we’d be in trouble… From the start line I could actually begin to see the weather start to close in around the mountain.”

How long did it take you to get used to the 208 T16 Pikes Peak?

Before starting on this programme I did ask myself whether or not this car would be too extreme for me to find the same sort of feeling and confidence as I have in my rally car. After all it’s 875 horsepower and the most radical car I have ever driven. In the end though I had a very comfortable feeling with the car and I was able to push with full confidence.”

So will you be back next year?

“To be honest that’s not something we’ve spoken about. I’ve really enjoyed this but we’ll see what happens and who tries to break the record. The feeling is amazing, but the risks are also high.”


Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak start


image After weeks of anticipation, the gloves are finally off. Today, the Pikes Peak competitors went head-to-head in competition against each other for the very first time, in qualifying for Sunday’s epic hill climb event. The 13 Unlimited class competitors – a category where the only rules are the ones governing safety – completed at least one run over the lower part of the hill climb to set a qualifying time. The fastest qualifier in each class gets to start first, with all the class competitors as a whole deciding which start window they would like to take on Sunday.


Sébastien Loeb with his 208 T16 Pikes Peak qualified fastest in the class on both runs, but he’s the first to admit that this does not count for much in the overall scheme of things. “It’s not like a race: qualifying isn’t really a crucial part of what goes on here,” said Loeb. “It’s how you perform on the day that counts. You have to rely on your own skills but also the car, the weather and the road conditions as well. Anything can still happen, but obviously we’re here to try and win: that’s our mission and we’ll be disappointed if we don’t achieve it. So far we’ve got off to a really good start.” image


At just after 07:00 this morning, with temperatures at 13 degrees centigrade, Loeb headed out for his first qualifying run in the 208 T16 Pikes Peak. The qualifying section of the hill was 8.30 kilometres long, with Loeb setting a time of 3m26.728s – 23 seconds ahead of his closest rival, Le Mans GT class winner Romain Dumas in a Norma prototype. Dumas, like many of the other competitors, only arrived in Colorado recently so has benefited from less testing time than Loeb at Pikes Peak. As more competitors familiarise themselves with the unique demands of the circuit and its 156 corners, the times are sure to come down in competition. The Peugeot team made some set-up changes to the rear of the car in time for the second run, which got underway at 08:24 in temperatures of 20 degrees centigrade. Showing remarkable consistency, Loeb posted a time of 3m26.153s – this time 17 seconds ahead of Dumas, who was again second-fastest. image


Tomorrow and on Friday the competitors get the chance to practise on the upper part of the hill, before the race on Sunday. Peugeot’s project chiefJean-Christophe Pallier concluded: “Sébastien completed two clean qualifying runs with no problems at all. We’re happy with the set up of the car but we’re not taking anything at all for granted. I’m sure we not seen the ultimate pace of our rivals yet. Now the target is to stay fully focussed to achieve our objectives. There’s a slight advantage in starting first, as it means that you definitely won’t be affected by other peoples’ racing incidents, but that doesn’t take anything away from the massive challenge that lies ahead.”

Pikes Peak

Loeb 208 T16


It’s official: Sebastien Loeb and the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak are cleared for takeoff. Today at Colorado Springs, the bespoke 875-horsepower Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak passed technical scrutineering at the World Arena close to the city centre, certifying the car to take place in the 91st ‘Race to the Clouds’ on Sunday June 30.


With the technical rules in the Unlimited class being (as the name suggests) unlimited, today’s scrutineering was all about ensuring that both the car and the driver’s equipment met certain safety standards. Everything was passed with no problems at all. Sebastien may be a nine-time world rally champion and the most successful driver in the history of the sport, but even that doesn’t give him a free pass into Pikes Peak. The Frenchman also had to attend the rookie’s briefing for all drivers who are new to the event. “You can feel the atmosphere starting to build now,” said Sebastien. “Pikes Peak is a brand new experience for me, so while we have been testing here already, I really don’t know what to expect from the actual race. You only get one shot up the hill and there is no second chance, so you have to make sure that you get everything right. So far the car feels fantastic.” The driver and the car are now all set for their attempt to become Kings of the Peak, exactly 25 years since Peugeot last broke the record with Ari Vatanen and the legendary 405 T16.  image


This morning, Sebastien shook down his car at the Pikes Peak International Raceway, where the Peugeot Sport team is basing itself in preparation for the race. Following some tests on the mountain last week and the week before, Peugeot’s mechanics stripped down and rebuilt the 208 T16 Pikes Peak from top to bottom. Today, Sebastien’s job was to check that all the systems were working properly. The team does not now plan to change the set-up for the race unless they have to. image


The 150 or so competitors – including 13 in the Unlimited class – will get the chance to practice the route during four early morning sessions from Tuesday to Friday this week. On Wednesday, qualifying takes place for the Unlimited runners to determine in which order the competitors start the race on Sunday. Sunday’s action, which can be followed live from the inside of the 208 T16 Pikes Peak on www.peugeot-sport.com is scheduled to start at 08:00 (local time), with the motorbike section leading the way. We will post details of Sebastien’s start time as soon as we know it on Friday. image


2013 Race Week Program:
June 25: Sanctioned practice day (5:30-8:30am)
June 26: Practice / Qualifying Unlimited Class (5:30-9:00am)
June 27: Practice (5:30-9:00am) / Qualifying + Media Day at PP Museum (2-4pm)
June 28: Practice / Qualifying (5:30-9:00am) + Fan Fest (5:00-10:00pm)
June 30 (8:00am): 91st PPIHC (estimated race slot Unlimited Class: 11am-1pm)
Further information: http://www.ppihc.com