The Pikes Peak Pug
Aka a ridiculously modified Peugeot..
Back in 2013, a 12 man team set on a task to build a car for the Pikes Peak Unlimited Class, a class that is only limited by your imagination. Peugeot during this time weren’t doing great as a company. Factories closed, more than 8000 jobs were lost and they had ended their pretty successful endurance programme.
Peugeot Sport boss Bruno Famin had a plan however. “We needed a project that was cheap, fast to implement, and would maximise media coverage to show that we were still in motorsport“. There he had the idea to go to Pikes Peak. Peugeot had previously already been to Pikes Peak with the world renown Peugeot 405 T16 GR that Ari Vatanen and Bobby Unser respectively drove 2 back to back Pikes Peak titles in 1988 and 1989. They used the 208 which at the time was the companies main product and made it into a racecar from scratch, however they had only a couple of months to execute this plan.
The final product was extraordinary, the french described it as, “practically an out-and-out endurance racing prototype". A twin-turbo 3.2 litre V6 outputed a total of 875HP sending it to all 4 wheels. It is so extreme in fact it had an overall power to weight ratio of 1:1 which is incredible. The acceleration figures are impressive too, 0-62MPH in 1.8 seconds, 0-124 in 4.8 seconds and 0-149 in 7 seconds. The car weighed 875kg and the distribution of weight in the tube framed Peugeot was very finely tuned, with the engine sitting near the middle, like the Group C prototypes and Group B legends. The running gear and vented carbon brake discs are from the incredible Peugeot 908 HDi that competed and won at Le Mans. And you can’t miss the 2 metre wide behemoth of a wing on the back and the gigantic front splitter which come from the 908 programme too. Whilst you make think most downforce comes from the gargantuan rear wing, it mostly comes from the underbody tray!
This all may sound sound incredible but what is more incredible is who Red Bull got in to drive it. The 9 time back to back WRC Championship winner, Sébastien Loeb. And as you can already possibly tell, it was bonkers. The car itself was so fast the Red Bull Helicopter couldn’t even keep up! In the end he didn’t just beat the record, he completely smashed it. The previous Rhys Millen record got 92 seconds carved off it, completing the run in 8 minutes 14 seconds which was 16% faster than Millen. On the 12.4 mile sweeping climb, Loeb averaged 90mph.
Photo: Top Gear
The investment was worth it in the end with the coverage being more popular than Peugeots 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours win with the 908 and cost less than a single rally driver programme.