On the eve of the 2017 running of the event, Sébastien Loeb has been permanently handed the keys to the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak car with which he set the current race record in 2013.
As the likes of Romain Dumas and former rival Rhys Millen prepare to start the 2017 iteration of the Race to the Clouds, Loeb is preparing to bring the car back into competition later in the year in Europe, notable for being the first car to shatter the sub-nine minute mark at Pikes Peak on its way to victory four years ago.
“I dreamed of owning this car one day and I was delighted and proud when Peugeot agreed to pass it on to me,” he said. “It’s quite a complex car to drive but it didn’t take me long to find my marks again.”
In preparation for his return to the wheel of the 875 horsepower monster, the infrequently used 208 T16 was given a chance to stretch its legs at Anneau du Rhin, Loeb’s home circuit in the Alsace region of eastern France. Later in the year, the car will begin its programme with Loeb at the wheel with an appearance at the Turckheim-Trois Epis Hill Climb in September, also located in Loeb’s home region.
“I really wanted to drive it again, but this time in my home region, Alsace. I think that’s important, not only for me and my team but also for French motorsport fans.”
Peugeot Sport’s pre-event simulations in 2013 did not expect the car to run a time faster than 8m 15sec up the fabled mountainside in Colorado, yet on his way to victory Loeb posted a fastest time of 8m 13.878sec. While improvements have been made to Dumas’ Norma MXX RD, Loeb and his 208 continued to hold a formidable track record.