Well of course he did. If you aim Sébastian Loeb at anything, the chances are that this legend of a driver will come out on top, and so he has again – this time at the 2013 running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
After dropping out of most top-line motorsport, Peugeot’s announcement of a programme revolving around Loeb and aimed at Pikes Peak came as something of a surprise, even though they could hang it off celebrating the monstrous turbocharged 405 T16 Pikes Peak of 25 years ago, which made the climb in 10m 47.220s on the old mixed-surface ascent.
Loeb’s charge for 2013, an 875hp Peugeot 208 T16, was part WRC, part rallycross, part LMP and all crazy. Originally revealed in a black stealth livery, the final car still looked pretty brutal, whilst incorporating the classic Peugeot racing stripes and the fizzy pop sponsor.
It accelerated faster than a Formula 1 car and was as high tech as a Le Mans racer. Loeb started first on the road at Pikes Peak after a blitzing qualifying; Peugeot’s simulation software predicted an 8m15s ascent was possible.
Loeb sprinted up in just 8m13.878s. He’s basically faster than a computer.
“I really didn’t expect anything better than 8m15s, so to do 8m13s was fantastic. Before the start I didn’t really know if I should push absolutely to the maximum or if I should just push to a comfortable pace, in order to make sure of the victory. In the end, I decided to push to the limit.”
“At the beginning of my run there was a bit of pressure for sure. With steep drops either side, and so much work and investment going into this programme, you obviously can’t make any mistakes… It’s 20 kilometres of taking risks.”
The time he set was a minute and a half quicker than the previous record, which borders on being rude to the regular competitors.
Rhys Millen finished 49 seconds back in his rocketship Hyundai PM580T, with Jean-Phillipe Dayraut’s bonkers Mini Countryman 1m29s slower – though both drivers also beat the record.
Weather and reliability affected last year’s times, despite it being the first time that Pikes Peak ran as an all-tarmac course – though it’s hardly likely that Loeb would have been challenged by the old dirt sections, given his background. Perhaps he would have just won by an even greater margin!
There’s no guarantee Loeb will be back next year for another go; even the great man is respectful of the dangers of the climb, which shows just what kind of effort he must have been putting in this year. But former record-holder Rhys Millen thinks Loeb’s time might stand: “That time he set was simply incredible. When will it be beaten? It might never be…”
Loeb is the very rare breed of driver that can go that much farther beyond what others think is the maximum. The finest driver of all time in my opinion. And one of the nicest people in the world.
I can see the argument that its not the "proper" Pikes Peak anymore, but that should be put aside ignored when considering Loebs run. Admittedly he has turned up in what is, at its core, already a developed car. But he ran the course for the first time, against experienced drivers in proven cars and not only did he beat them, he obliterated the previous record. Amazing achievement from one of the finest drivers of this era. Can't wait to see what Loeb does in WTCC next year...
I hope that the forthcoming and promising coverage of Larry and Sean will entail, apart from Loeb's magnificent achievement, any details regarding the Evasive Motorsport FRS and the Mini Countryman. Bring it!
I feel like some of these are Sean's photos...
Not too surprised though, it seems like you give Sébastian anything with wheels and he'll pick it up with no problem. I thinks it's cool that after rally, he didn't just sit back and relax, but instead try different things.
I wish they offered the 208gti with this paintwork and a similar alloy package with beefy tyres, I would definitly buy one!
Congratulations where they are due! Granted, Pike's Peak hasn't seen an assault on it like this before with such backing but hey, I'm sure someone will topple it later.
Wasn't the old record set when there was gravel all the way up? If so saying he oblitterated the record is kinda....WRONG.
Credit where credit is due but comparing a gravel time to a tarmac one is hardly right.
@andrewhake The finest driver? It is impossible to make such a statement unless you are fully aware of all the great drivers since the inception of motorsports. Without having to include the legends who excelled in F1 like Fangio, Stewart, Clark Senna, I can name many great rally drivers like Vatanen, Röhrl, Blomqvist, McRae who according to many others are the finest.
@tbtstt well said. Too many people argue the fact that Peugeot invested a ton of money into the car/event. Far more than the average team. Sure they did, but it was also Loeb's first time. Many accomplished drivers (Rhys Millen for instance) brought to the race what they expected to be the perfect machine. Many drivers KNEW the course ahead of time. Loeb relied entirely on his skill and Peugeot. Enough with the argument.
If you saw this in person, you wouldn't be saying that. Loebs' car was so much faster than Millens' car through the straights it was kind of stupid. Driving skill was almost irrelevant at that point.
@quattroistfurpussies You can't compare those two man, it was a completely different track and the difference in the cars is mind boggling. I'm with Vad, let Rhys have a drive of the Peugeot and we'll see what happens!
Let Rhys Millen drive the Peugeot i bet he'll have similar times with Sebastian Loeb's. The performance difference of the cars huge. Congrats to Peugeot.
He is still in WRC and fourth in the championship.
@EvolveWRC It's a different race now.
Whereas the old race with dirt used to be who could not slide the most and accelerate the fastest, it's now a complete sprint to the finish.
It's not better, or worse, it's just different.
@EvolveWRC I agree, but to see Loeb completely obliterating the field (and I always thought Rhys Millen was a damn good driver). This just goes to show how BOSS Loeb is!!!! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
@MatsKarlsson I would agree with you but. I don't like the whole-tarmac course either, but to be fair, everyone ran on tarmac. Being 49 seconds faster than the 2nd guy is beyond blistering fast! And Rhys Millen is not a bad driver either (not to mention he didn't show up at the Pikes Peak with a regular car).... So, IMO Loeb smashed the competition like nobody's business!
@MatsKarlsson It was already full tarmac last year when the 9min46 time was set....so yeah, he definitely obliterated the record !
@andrewhake ***Clark, Senna
Sebastian Loeb is great driver but people think he is Pike's god because of the lap time difference the Peugeot with other drivers. It's like people are saying Vettel is better than Caterham or Marussia drivers of course he is because he is in Redbull with Newey. Put Ryhs in the same car and it will be like Vettel vs Webber. Either one can get the job done.
@Driveitlikeyoustoleit @quattroistfurpussies Rhys has years and years of experience on this hill, he knew every turn, every dip, every ascent on this road, he built his car knowing every nook and cranny of this peak and couldnt do it. The Peugeot team came in almost completely blind, and embarrassed everyone, how can ya'll make excuses for Rhys, his program had a HUGE advantage to build a peak car compared to Loebs and now you want to put him in Loebs car, hell put Loeb in Rhys car and see what he puts down.
@Vad there are PROFESSIONAL WRC drivers that constantly loose against Loeb. While I think Rhys is a great driver, I don't think he's up to par with Loeb.
Yet, people in same type of cars always seem to loose vs loeb, I ain't a fan of the dude, but after seeing him in classes he's not great at (RWD, AERO, Slicks) he is on par with the greatest in those classes, Loeb is incredible and I acknowledge it.
That's coming from a guy who don't like him. it's mainly due to his too great driving, hardly drama, and WRC was just boring to watch, he just won every year...
@JDMized Not a fanboy. I am just ignorant with regard to the Mini Countryman. I did not know that this is the ex-Dacia Duster.
@JDMized Exactly. Everyone is focusing in Loeb's time compared to the record, and then going "oh but tarmac" and "but last year's record was a Time Attack car". But the real indicator is Loeb going 49 seconds faster than the next Unlimited car - driven by a Pikes Peak veteran. Absolutely mental.
@JDMized Everyone can run on tarmac. hahahaha. That is a good one Alessio
@TeroK ahaha! he just said "his opinion is simply wrong" he can probably tell if everybody's opinion is right or wrong. what a true automotive genius. :)))
Is it really fanboyism to claim Loeb the finest? I was Marcus Grönholm fan when they raced each other in WRC. I guess that one could say I disliked Loeb because of his ability to be so consistent and win rallies so effortlessly that I found it irritating. Loeb is also very versatile driver he can drive and be competitive on any surface, maybe on snow there's been some tough Scandinavian opposition, and not to mention 2nd place finish at Le Mans 24 tells much about his driving style being efficient and economical on fuel and tyres. Could he have been successful in F1? I think he might. Yeah I also find fanboyism a laugh, people shouting about drivers, marques or builds not even able to explain for themselves why something is better than others. Being dominant on some sport for almost a decade, have almost none failures on career(only 15 retirements in 10yrs), ability to drive fast and nurse the car ability be successful on rally and circuit racing. I would say that's fine driving. So is it wrong to say that he's the finest as an opinion?
@ Oskarello Don't be so defensive. His opinion is simply wrong. My opinion is redundant and obnoxious, but it is entirely true. This is an insignificant matter, but anyone who states that Loeb is the finest driver of all time is a fanboy and fanboys make me laugh. There are plenty of great drivers. I am not going to point out who is the best and this is why I said according to many others. Do you need names?
@andrewhake he said "the finest driver of all time IN MY OPINION“. why do people feel the need to not only disagree but to completely dismiss with malice and anger? Do you feel superior now that you proved to the world how knowledgeable u are?...... "who according to many others are the finest" so now your trying to prove his opinion is wrong by citing other anonymous peoples supposed opinions?
@JDMized Fanboy or ignorant?
Joshua do you expect from anyone in here to understand it? I bet if Audi creates a Pikes Peak specific race car and puts Kristensen behind the wheel, there will be legitimate chance to break the record. I know that Rhys is backed by respectable sponsors, but his cars are not developed by the racing division of the Hyundai factory.
@JDMized all he was saying*
@Seeking Perfection so maybe next time instead of pointing fingers at people, it's better to do a bit of research, otherwise you come out as arrogant.
@Seeking Perfection apologies accepted. I stopped checking SH because of the non-sense taking people would say.....blame me for that, but I grew jaded.... Anyway, happy discussion!
@JDMized Ok. You are right on this one. I extend my apologies.
@Seeking Perfection who are you? Who are you? Pretty creepy to see someone digging on the net people name? We are having a discussion here (opinions if you will), and you grab the opportunity to question people's idea and go off tangent because supposedly you know what's what?! Give me a break!
@JDMized ...but Loeb chose to fly like an eagle...