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26 April 2013

Peak-a-boo: Peugeot returns to Pikes Peak with one-off 208 T16 (w/ video)

Words by Carl Trocio | Photos courtesy of Peugeot Sport
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Let it be known that the French have declared war to reclaim their title on American soil and sends their message through a rally. What iz zis you say? Ze Fronch are edded to Amyerica? Sacre bleu! But before you le click the le share boot-ton, there’s time to read the rest of this article.
French carmaker, Peugeot (pronounced as 'pyu-joe') is coming to America to join the country’s second oldest auto race - the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The battle shall take place in Colorado this June 30, 2013 where those who dare shall climb a 20 kilometer mountain track with more twists and turns than a local telenovela (156 turns to be exact). With a speedy ascent of 2,862 meters to the 4,300 meter summit, the altitudes’ thinning air adds to the perils to be faced by the racers, aside from the more threatening and more obvious danger of falling off the peak.
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The company had their taste of success cooked up by Finnish rally driver, Ari Vatenen in 1988. A year later, ex-Indy Racing League driver and eight time winner of the same hill climb Robby Unser gave Peugeot their second win. Both drivers owned the mountain propelled by the winged Peugeot 405 T16. Vatanen's record-breaking climb was even immortalized on film by director Jean Louis Mourey in his short movie known simply as “Climb Dance.” Then they did the smart thing: quit while they were ahead and take a 14 year hiatus. But with Peugeot’s sights now set in reliving the glory of their back to back victories, they came prepared to conquer the Pikes Peak once again.
Waging war in the Unlimited Class is the company’s resident General, the nine time world rally champion, Sébastien Loeb Loeb who is armed him an extremely light, carbon fiber enriched, high powered, and high winged Peugeot 206 T16 Pikes Peak.
Just how special is this machine? The carbon fiber package is not available at any Peugeot dealer or even from the best tuner shops. Well, probably except Atoy Customs or (insert would-be sponsor here). The 208 T16 sports a huge wing taken from Peugeot's Le Mans 24-hour winning 908 to ensure that the hell spawn sticks to the track like his life depended on it. Oh right, it does. The cockpit only has room for one and features a central driving position, which gives the driver full credit in case of a victory or full blame in case something goes terribly wrong. That’s how special the 208 T16 can get.
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According to Michael Trouve, who is the head stylist of silhouette design in the company’s Styling Center: "Its proportions are very different to those of the production 208. This difference gives it an almost beast-like appearance." He can say that again. But it’s such a lovable looking beast. You’d want to love it, and kiss it and name it George.
On press time, there is still no word from Peugeot Sport on the specifications on the little engine that would. But given the prep work on this little monster and the rally heritage behind the company, it will not be short of spectacular.
Now you can le click the le share boot-ton. Nes pas?