Always ready to rise to a fresh challenge, nine-time world rally champion Sébastien Loeb and Peugeot Sport will contest the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 30.
The Frenchman will tackle the world’s highest hill climb – which culminates at an altitude of 4,301 metres – at the wheel of the 208 T16 Pikes Peak which was specially engineered and built by Peugeot Sport. The event marks the French team’s return to the classic American event after its memorable victories there in 1988 and 1989.
The announcement of this ambitious project three weeks ago caused a buzz in motorsport circles, and the time has now come for the next phase of this exciting adventure: the unveiling of the machine in which Sébastien Loeb will target victory in Colorado.
Although its exterior styling resembles that of the production model, the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak was tailor engineered and designed to meet the specific needs of the famous American event.
No punches have been pulled with the 208 T16 Pikes Peak which will compete in the event’s premier ‘Unlimited’ class, a category that allows plenty of freedom on the technical front. The engineers have naturally taken on-board the salient features of this legendary competition, the USA’s oldest after the Indy 500 and a truly unique cocktail because of its incredibly twisty, high-altitude course.
That said, Peugeot can count on the considerable experience it gained of the so-called ‘Race to the Clouds’ with the 405 T16 which claimed back-to-back victories in 1988 and 1989, in the hands of Ari Vatanen and Robby Unser respectively. Sébastien Loeb is among those who were struck by the film ‘Climb Dance’ which was produced to commemorate Vatanen’s resounding success.
Now that he has taken a step back from world class rallying after dominating the World Rally Championship for almost a decade, Sébastien Loeb is keen to turn his attention to new challenges. In addition to his involvement in this year’s GT World Series, he snapped up the opportunity to contest the celebrated Pikes Peak Hill Climb and discover its 156 corners which he will tackle without the help of a co-driver.
The Frenchman will also have to cope with a strength-sapping altitude difference of some 1,500 metres in less than 20 kilometres, with the finish line situated at an altitude of 4,301 metres!