So Peugeot's motorsport resurgence continues! Following the reveal of its fabulously bonkers 208 T16 Pikes Peak contender recently Peugeot was also at the N24 over the weekend, with a trio of 208 GTIs taking the top three positions in their class at the Nurburgring 24 Hours.
Competing in the SP2T category, the Peugeot teams finished 32nd, 39th and 46th overall. A pair of the 208 GTI teams, including the class victor, featured drivers from Peugeot 208 GTI Racing Experience, an online competition created as part of the roadgoing GTI launch.
Following online registration and a national heat, the 208 GTI Racing Experience brought together 40 drivers, the five fastest from eight European countries. Following a test at La Ferte Gaucher in France on March 4, these drivers were whittled down to the eight (one from each nation) that competed at the N24. From Britain, Bradley Philpot was selected, a race instructor based at Silverstone. Another notable name in the line-up was Vincent Radermecker, once a Vauxhall BTCC racer and Belgium's representative.
The SP2T class restricts entrants to a maximum engine capacity of 1.6-litres. This meant the 208 GTI competed against similar rivals to the road car, specifically the Mini JCW and Hyundai Veloster Turbo. The racer produces 300hp and 265lb ft, channelled to the front wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. Composite panels and polycarbonate windows take 170kg from the 208 GTI's weight, reducing it to 990kg. The front brakes are 355mm diameter with six-pot calipers, the rears 290mm with a single-piston caliper.
The combination of low mass, FWD and (relatively) little power proved very successful at a wet, foggy and fairly miserable N24. Indeed, according to photographer Jochen from Frozenspeed ..., the 208s "were like angry bees... harassing many of the big boys."
Peugeot's plans for the N24-spec 208 GTIs are unclear, but the winners of the Racing Experience will remain brand ambassadors for Peugeot in their respective countries. And if some of this can be channelled into the road car then who are we to argue.