Following months of team work. At last, the dream has become reality. The savoir-faire of the engineers at Peugeot Sport and MICHELIN paid dividends when Frenchman Sébastien LOEB provided further evidence of his multifaceted talent with another top-flight performance. At about 17:40 (UTC), the nine-time world rally champion recorded a time of 8m13.878s for the infamous American hill climb. That was enough to win the “Ultimate” class and establish a brand new record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, USA, the world’s most famous hill climb event which was organised for the 91st time this weekend.
The Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak completed the 20-kilometre course‟s 156 turns to the mountain‟s summit at an average speed of 145.7kph.
The car was equipped with specially designed MICHELIN tyres (31/71-18) which enabled Sébastien LOEB to optimise the exceptional performance of his machine and focus 100 percent on his driving.
With an average of eight turns every kilometre, which is three times the average for the world‟s major circuits, the Pikes Peak climb subjects tyres to constraints that are not found anywhere else. The inconsistent surface and humidity levels, as well as the 1,500-metre altitude difference between the start and finish lines all contribute to this event‟s unique difficulty and make conventional racing tyres ill adapted to the challenge.
MICHELIN consequently developed special tyres featuring technologies derived from those employed in a number of other motorsport disciplines. These tyres rose perfectly to the demands made of them by the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak, a car which tips the scales at just 875kg for a power output of 875hp. Its advanced aerodynamics package enables it to accelerate from a standstill to 20kph in just 4.8 seconds.
“Congratulations to Sébastien LOEB and to Peugeot Sport on their exceptional achievement which put MICHELIN on top in the world‟s most prestigious hill climb event,” said MICHELIN Motorsport Director Pascal COUASNON. “The tyres we developed for Sébastien LOEB’s Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak were a concentrate of MICHELIN’s motorsport expertise.
“It was thanks to the MICHELIN Total Performance development strategy that we were able to successfully combine performance factors often believed to be irreconcilable into a single product, from very fast warm-up and an ability to withstand the non-stop sequence of hard acceleration, braking and abrupt load changes, to the delivery of consistent grip over a broad spectrum of temperatures and road surfaces.”
“Every time MICHELIN Motorsport takes up a new challenge such as this, the Group‟s engineers benefit from a real-life laboratory which allows them to extend their skills and showcase their creative thinking. This is how technology moves forward and MICHELIN is passionate about carrying over the innovations it develops in motorsport to the tyres it designs for road cars.”