Super Battle’s Unexpected Contender

If there’s one type of car the French have always been good at making, it’s the hot hatchback.

The Peugeot 205 GTi, the Renault Turbo and Turbo 2, the Renault Clio and all its hot variants, and the Citroën AX Turbo are all cars that I lusted over during my teenage years in the UK. But as you’d expect, they’re not models you often see in Japan.


So you can probably understand my surprise when I spotted a new Peugeot 208 GTi among the cars in the paddock at the recent Rev Speed Super Battle at Tsukuba Circuit. I really appreciate variety, especially if there’s a Japanese approach taken, and I have to say, I like everything about this car from Auto Pro.

The team had a few spare wheels in their pit, but when I passed by the car was sitting on a set of OZ Racing Superleggeras at the front and RAYS Volk Racing CE28Ns at the rear. Entered in the Street Class means it was allowed to run on S-tires – Yokohama Advan A050s to be precise, meanwhile braking is taken care of by a set of Endless front calipers and single-piece rotors.


The engine in the GTi may only be a 1.6-liter unit, but the THP (an acronym for Turbo High Pressure) allows for 200hp.


However, this one runs a modified turbo, custom piping, a BMC carbon air box and a reprogrammed ECU which takes the final number to around 260hp.

The interior is where FDM meets JDM; a few gauges are sprinkled around for good measure and there’s also a seat and steering wheel upgrade. I even spotted an iPad taped to the center console displaying the GTi’s OBD2 readouts.


I always enjoy finding quirky little cars like this at time attack events; they prove that the underlying need to standout and attempt something different still exists in Japanese car culture.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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lap time?

Dino Dalle Carbonare



thanks! having some comparison and context is great. it provides a little objectivity to the subjective love for the different approaches.


Big fan of the 208 gti. This one looks pretty cool.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Certainly unique. Tad too rounded


"car was sitting on a set of OZ Racing Superleggeras at the front and RAYS Volk Racing CE38Ns at the rear"
I wasn't aware Volk made CE38Ns!


I have read it as ce28ns so many times i just auto corrected as I was reading lol

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah they are a new lightweight model ;)


AX Turbo ? :o

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Bit of a beast. Lift-off oversteer for days...


Dino, you mean AX GTi or AX Sport, I suppose. The Citroën AX never came with a turbo.


There is no such thing as a AX Turbo,at least from factory.
The hot versions are the AX Sport,the AX GT and the AX Gti


It's the Citroen AX, an ugly but very light small french car from the 80's.


However, this one runs a modified tubro, custom piping, a BMC carbon air box and a reprogrammed ECU which takes the final number to around 260hp.

A Tubro, this made me chuckle! Loving these articles Dino - you wouldn't happen to know if there is anything planned at Tsukuba for March next year? My partner is letting me stop by Tsukuba on the 18th March on our way back from the snow, and was hoping there would be a meet of some sort happening, but I can't find any schedules online anywhere


I feel that the french are better than German in making cool hot hatches these days, I really prefer a 208GTI or a Clio Sport over a Golf GTI.
And don't forget the name of the high end version of the 208, i think it's the longest car name I've ever heard of.


You mean the Peugeot 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport i believe!


Yes that's what i mean
They could just name it T2, V2, add an "s",... but no that's too "cliché".


Here in France, we just call it bPS, i don't think it's more cliché than "M" for Motorsport, RS for Renault Sport.
What would "T2" or "V2" stands for ?

BTW the VW's competitor for the 208/Clio is the Polo :p


That's what I'm saying, they tried to use a non-cliché name and ended up with a paragraph to describe the car.
T2 and V2 and for tier2 or version2.
And since i prefer a 208/ Clio over a gti sure i'm not going for polo.


this kind of examples makes the general population of car culture and make it more fun for everyone

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah it's the perfect example that we have a broader choice of fun cars than a lot of people realize. The Japanese school us on how to properly set them up and make them look cool :)


and fast in a enjoyable way


Living in Europe, I thought that French cars were only sold in Europe itself. Maybe some places as well, but not Japan. How often do you see French cars outside Europe? I never spotted a single one.
And a 1"05"322 is pretty fast. Congratulations Auto Pro!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

There are a lot in Japan, some curious ones too, like the Kangoo, they love it out here.


1.6 THP? Still has timing chain/ tensioner problem? Gretings from europe, where these engines are worst option. 40 000km for timing chain, you kidding me?


I'm afraid that you need a big update ;-) THP tensioner problems belong to the past now.


Ha! That's the N18 engine from the facelifted MINI Cooper S, R56-chassis.

They're pretty reliable, aside from all the problems. My favorite issue is the one where the OPC solenoid causes the wiring harness to fill with oil. The solution at which they eventually arrived was to affix a jumper harness which includes an oil drain, and shove that into the oil pan.