PEUGEOT 208: A HISTORY IN MOTORSPORT
06 Sep 2018
Peugeot’s most iconic supermini is the legendary 205. And via the 206 and 207, the current 208 – first unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show – is its direct descendant. As well as a car that has taken the road by storm, the 208 model has figured prominently in Peugeot’s competition history: in a number of different guises and specifications.
Perhaps the most extreme Peugeot 208 was the Pikes Peak version, which shattered the record for the epic American hillclimb with Sebastien Loeb at the wheel in 2013. This was a pure racing car, which derived from Peugeot’s experience at Le Mans as well as in the World Rally Championship. Five years ago, Loeb raced to the clouds in Colorado with a time of 8m13.878s: a record that stood until only a couple of months ago.
But there are also some other competition versions of the 208 that are a bit more recognisable as a 208. The Peugeot 208T16 R5 car inherited a fabled name, as it was baptised after the classic 205T16: the four-wheel drive Group B car that dominated its era in world rallying. The 208T16 is also four-wheel drive, powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that puts out around 280 horsepower. This car, which made its debut in 2014, winning the Acropolis Rally, has racked up numerous national and international titles.
As well as competing in the FIA European Rally Championship with the PEUGEOT Rally Academy, the 208T16 is also active in series all over the world. There’s an R2 version of the 208 as well, with less power and two-wheel drive, which is used for a number of junior championships – enabling promising young drivers to take their first steps up the career ladder.
The 208 is seen not only in rallying but in racing as well, with one-make cars that make up the ‘Rencontres PEUGEOT Sport’ – including the famous 24-hour race at Magny-Cours.
The first official 208 WRX rallycross cars, derived from the 208T16, ran in 2014 under the Team Peugeot Hansen banner. Peugeot Sport’s involvement gradually increased to the point that a full factory entry to the FIA World Rallycross Championship was made in 2018, with Sebastien Loeb, Timmy Hansen, and Kevin Hansen.