Peugeot: we can take 15secs from VW’s Pikes Peak record | Top Gear
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Peugeot: we can take 15secs from VW’s Pikes Peak record

Fighting talk as Peugeot Sport’s boss says VW didn’t do as well as he expected

Published: 08 Mar 2019

You most likely recall Volkswagen slicing 17 seconds from Peugeot’s Pikes Peak hillclimb record in 2018. Well, it left Peugeot Sport boss Bruno Famin rather disappointed, but perhaps not for the reason you’re expecting.

“I was very disappointed by the Volkswagen as they could have done much better, for sure,” he told Top Gear of the I.D. R’s 7m57s, recorded on the 12.42-mile course last June. “There’s at least 10 to 15 seconds more to be taken from the record.”

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While the electric I.D .R (driven by Romain Dumas) made a better fist of high-altitude driving than the petrol-powered 208 T16 (which Sebastien Loeb drove), Famin assures us that’s not the key difference between the two.

“Even with a gasoline engine you can go and beat that record, but if you want some good promotion and good marketing you want a pure electric car for sure. If you want some money from the big boss, you have to prove it’s worth it.”

So can he prove it, and thus return Peugeot to the top of the Pikes Peak timing sheets? “It has been proposed, but not for the time being. I’m convinced we can beat the record, but I know also that it costs quite a lot of money.

“That was not the case when we smashed the record in 2013, where the cost of the project was almost nothing because we just used components from the 908 racecar, and everything had competed already at Le Mans.

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“It was the only way to do it at that time. If you want to beat the current record you’d have to spend millions and develop a bespoke car. You need to divide the front surface by two and have a prototype shape, for sure.”

Now there’s a thought: an electric prototype that shouts about Peugeot Sport’s new philosophy while plunging the Pikes Peak record closer to the 7m30s mark. Yikes. If a Le Mans programme helped make it happen last time – and given the brand’s illustrious history in endurance racing – we ask if Famin fancies a return there, too.

“Never say never! It could be a good complement to what we’re doing on the standard cars but we have to do one thing after another; for the time being we are dedicating our resources to delivering a range of electrified road car products. Let’s talk again in three or four years’ time and we shall see if ACO and FIA have finalised the new regulations.”

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