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…”
Simply a Miracle........................Numbers don't lie.
Now the 2014 Race, he need not compete or worry.
King of the Hill !
Watch the last 45 secs of this and you can see that Loeb was not even close to his limits on Pikes Limit.
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.
Damnit, if he was born in Paris you could make a totally alliterative headline:
PARISIAN PILOTS PEUGEOT, PULVERISES PIKES PEAK
I'm quite surprised by how little the media coverage of this event is down here in France, I mean, come on, this is historic!
Can't wait to see the final video released, with the onboard camera images!