When Top Gear drove the Peugeot 208 T16
Seb Loeb's 875bhp was fastest at Goodwood this weekend. Here's what happened when our man got a drive
Posted: 01 Jul 2014
Ah, yes. The Peak. For the uninitiated, Pikes Peak is an annual hill climb up a public road that scales the side of a mountain in Colorado. And Peugeot already had history with the race: Ari Vatanen and Robby Unser won back-to-back titles in 1988 and '89 in the bewinged Peugeot 405 T16 GR. The feat documented in the famous film Climb Dance, where Vatanen scythed through hairpins, skimmed sheer cliffs and nonchalantly blocked the sun from his eyes while sideways on dirt.
Eager for a rematch, Famin approached Gilles Vidal, Peugeot's style director, who got one of his designers to sketch a 208 - the company's contemporary product - morphed into a car that could take on such a specific race. He showed Monsieur Picat, who green-lit the operation. There was one slight hitch: they only had a few months to cook up a one-off racer from scratch.