208 GTi RACING EXPERIENCE: March 2013, 26
THE 208 GTi PEUGEOT SPORT CONFRONTS “THE GREEN HELL!"
Designed in Vélizy, the 208 GTi Peugeot Sport displays its strengths on the eve of the 2013 VLN championship. One goal : the 24H Nürburgring 2013 next may, with the 8 european drivers recruited online through the 208 GTi Racing Experience project.
Supporting the launch of 208 GTi
More than 2000 licensed drivers registered early 2013 on the 208 GTi Racing Experience website to accompany the commercial launch of the 208 GTi. After the national pre-selections, eight “208 GTi ambassadors” were selected during the International Final in La Ferté Gaucher, to race in the 24H Nürburgring 2013 :
- Dominik PEITZ - 21 years old – Germany
- Vincent RADERMECKER – 45 years old – Belgium
- Gonzalo MARTIN DE ANDRES – 31 years old – Spain
- Mathieu SENTIS – 27 years old – France
- Giacomo RICCI – 27 years old – Italy
- Christiaan FRANKENHOUT- 31 years old – Netherlands
- Johnny NIEDERHAUSER – 41 years old – Switzerland
- Bradley PHILPOT – 27 years old – United Kingdom
The Nürburgring is not totally unknown for some of them (notably Christiaan FRANKENHOUT who finished third overall at the 2012 24H Nürburgring), but most of the ambassadors will have to discover and learn one of the most unusual and unforgiving tracks in the world : the Nordschleife.
In order to do so, they will participate in VLN Test Day (5th and 6th April 2013), then the VLN 2 (April 13th) and VLN 3 (April 27th) with four 208 Racing Cup cars developed and manufactured by Peugeot Sport, before the 24 Hours race at the Nürbürgring (19th and 20th May). To withstand this special track, Peugeot Sport was tasked to design a 208 GTi with the sole aim of victory in the SP2T category (1600cm3 turbo petrol)
Technical features of the Peugeot Sport 208 GTi
The 208 GTi Peugeot Sport will be the fourth race edition of the 208. It has benefited from the development of its three elders (T16, R2 and Racing Cup) and was thus able to be designed in a very short amount of time. Studies began in December 2012. The preparation of the first shell began in January 2013 for an early assembly in February and a first drive at the end of the same month. It benefits from the collection of mechanical components developed and tested for 208 T16, 208 R2, 208 Racing Cup and also for RCZ Racing Cup, the latter of which is a benchmark in the SP2T category in Germany with wins in the VLN, 24 Hours Nürbürgring 2012 and the Bathurst 12 hours this year.
Of course, the 208 GTi Peugeot Sport also benefits from the strengths of the standard 208 GTi model. Like the GTi, it has a 1600 turbo petrol engine tuned from 200 to 300 bhp. This engine is accompanied by a 6-speed gearbox operated by paddle shifters. It is equipped with a reinforced braking system, 18’’ wheels, a 100 litre petrol tank and aerodynamics designed to take advantage from the race regulations to the limits. The overall weight of the car is of 990 kg.
3 questions to Florent Meilhaud: Eengineer responsible for the development of the 208 GTi Peugeot Sport
What was your initial vision of this 208 GTi Peugeot Sport?
«Personally, when I hear the term GTi it reminds me of the 205, which was a light car combining performance and driving pleasure. The standard 208 GTi follows this heritage and I wanted to carry this concept across to the competition version. I will make sure that it justifies its GTi badge. There is pride but also pressure in working on a project like this, with such a short timescale. The whole team is highly motivated ».
What have been the main areas of your work?
«We are covering all aspects, but we have paid particular attention to three main areas. First of all, reliability. It is a key requirement in endurance racing. Then, suspensions. A high demand is placed on the suspensions on this undulating, bumpy circuit with its surface changes. Last, but not least, weight, which is a performance factor ».
What will the 208 GTi Peugeot Sport be like to drive?
«Each driver has his own motorsport experience. So one of the objectives was to create a well-balanced car that is pleasant to drive, easy to handle and to recover in the event of losing grip. It must also protect the drivers’ physical condition; this is essential for long races, when driving for up to 2 hours long stints. It is therefore well laid out for endurance racing, with steering wheel-mounted paddles for changing gears, and a maximum number of controls close to hand to ensure the driver’s concentration is maintained during their time at the wheel ».