A tribute car and futuristic concept all rolled into one

It was 100 years ago that Dario Resta and his Peugeot L45 averages a speed of 83.89 mph and won the Indianapolis 500 race of 1916. That was only one of three victories that Peugeot managed to attain between 1913 and 1919 at the Indy 500. Now in 2016, Peugeot has announced the Peugeot L500 R Hybrid to pay tribute to such an accomplishment and the “Charlatans” team that made it possible. The concept is said to be a “futuristic interpretation of the Indy Spirit” and a “racing concept for intense driving sensations.”

Matthias Hossann, Peugeot’s Concept Car and Technological Advance Chief, said, “With Peugeot L500 R Hybrid we’re paying tribute to Peugeot racing exploits dating to the early 20th century. Inspired by this spirit of performance and innovation we wanted to convey a sculptural, elegant and technological view of the future of Peugeot motorsport.”

Let’s be honest, at first glance this concept is highly futuristic but gorgeous at the same time. It features strong character lines, muscular wheel arches, and an impressive livery. In short, Peugeot took its time developing this concept and it looks amazing for that reason. With a long hood and a short tail, and a low profile that has this thing sitting low to the ground, it could, in theory, be a preview of what race cars in the future will look like. Of course, we have no idea how the future will unfold, but let’s take a good look at Peugeot’s new concept and see just how Peugeot sees the future of race cars and their design.

Continue reading to learn more about the Peugeot L500 R HYbrid.

Exterior

2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid High Resolution Exterior
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According to Peugeot, the design of the L500 R Hybrid is a combination of a forward-looking design with present-day features. It claims the front light signature is supposedly derived from the Peugeot 3008, while the blue and black paint scheme is a reference to the Original L45 that won the Indianapolis 500 race back in 1916. Personally, I don’t see where the headlights (assuming the headlights are those small units on either side of that front air dam) point back to the 3008, but to each their own, I suppose.

Up front, the concept has a long sculpted hood that resides comfortably between the two muscular front fenders.

Up front, the concept has a long sculpted hood that resides comfortably between the two muscular front fenders. Down below the hood, there is a rectangular air dam with the lion emblem in the middle. A small red insert is placed below the air dam and folds around the sides of what I assume to be the headlight units. Below the insert there is a dominating carbon fiber front lip that looks like it has been optimally placed to apply downforce to the front end.

Moving over to the sides, the wheel arches are rather smooth on the outside, but to the inside, they reveal strong muscular lines that give front end an aggressive look. It’s hard to say what size wheels sit between the body and the ground, but if I had to guess, I would say they are 24-inch units wrapped in tires so thin that it would be hard not to confuse them rubber bands. Just behind the front wheel arches there is a massive vent that looks like it probably channels air from the front and along the side to apply downforce to the center sides of the body.

This car isn’t powered by jet turbines or anything, but there could potentially be room for some small rocket boosters between those taillight LEDs if Peugeot really wanted to get wild with it.

Down below, that carbon fiber lip is carried over from the front. There is a large insert just behind the front wheel that runs about one-third of the way to the rear before opening up to a large recessed area in the center. As we get closer to the rear wheel arch, the body begins to smooth out and widen to house the rear wheels. Oddly, this area is excessively smooth. There is a very small window on each side above the waistline – likely due to the i-cockpit design of the interior.

To the rear, this thing looks like a menacing spaceship with tires. Right away, it’s easy to notice that the wheel arches break away in the rear, leaving the area behind the rear tires open – presumably for optimal air flow. As the body folds up and over the cockpit, there appear to be a number of different body panels all attached to a central point that sits to the rear of the cockpit. The top of the rear end is relatively smooth, but there are a few bends in the body panels to give the car a little more character. There are three, vertically mounted LED taillights in the center surrounded by a silver insert that drops down in the center where the rear diffuser comes together. This car isn’t powered by jet turbines or anything, but there could potentially be room for some small rocket boosters between those taillight LEDs if Peugeot really wanted to get wild with it. For now, my guess is they serve as exhaust outlets for the gasoline-powered engine hidden under the body.

Interior

2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid High Resolution Interior
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All told, it’s a very futuristic design, but it’s pretty damn cool looking and could be the reality of racing cockpits in the future.

On the inside, this thing looks even more like a spaceship, albeit one that is a single-seater and designed for racing. Peugeot is calling it the “holographic i-Cockpit” and it looks absolutely amazing. Granted that red, carbon-fiber-looking seat may not be all that comfortable, but this thing was designed for racing, not comfort, right? At the very top of the seat there is a padded structure on each side that is undoubtedly there for driver head protection, and just ahead of those on each side there is a locking mechanism for the cockpit hatch along with the words “LIFT HERE.” The steering wheel isn’t really a wheel at all. Instead, it’s more like a dual handled unit that looks to feature a few buttons on the inside of the handles. Ahead of the steering wheel, there is an opening in the cockpit that gives us a glimpse at what could be one of the pedals, or at the very least, a foot rest.

Apparently, the cockpit takes the two-set architecture from the L45 and reinterprets it into a single-seat cockpit. There are holographic projectors located in the front of the cockpit that displays vital information about the track. In the images here, the right projector is displaying a directional arrow with what is likely a distance counter below. The left projector is displaying a map along with a small blip to indicate the car’s current location on the track. It’s like the HUD of a futuristic racing game built into this concept. There’s lots of carbon fiber everywhere with the Peugeot name embossed on each side of the cockpit. According to the press release, the L500 R Hybrid has a virtual reality headset that works as a virtual co-pilot and displays a real-time racing experience. All told, it’s a very futuristic design, but it’s pretty damn cool looking and could be the reality of racing cockpits in the future.

Dirvetrain

2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Peugeot claims that the car can hit the 62-mph sprint in 2.5 seconds and can cover 3,280 feet (just over a half-mile) in 19 seconds.

According to Peugeot’s press release, this baby is powered by a gasoline powered engine that delivers 270 horsepower. There is also an electric motor at the front axle and one at the rear. Total system output is said to be 500 horsepower, which indicates that each electric motor delivers 115 horsepower. Peugeot claims the concept is lightweight weighing in at just 2,204.62 pounds. For reference, that’s at least 500 pounds lighter than the 2016 Honda Civic that is sitting in your neighbor’s driveway. It seems highly unlikely that this concept is actually driveable, but Peugeot claims that the car can hit the 62-mph sprint in 2.5 seconds and can cover 3,280 feet (just over a half-mile) in 19 seconds. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but I can’t deny the fact that I would love to see this concept in action on a real track.

Conclusion

2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid High Resolution Exterior
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Normally I hate overzealous tribute vehicles that have almost nothing to do with the models they honor, but this concept is so futuristic that I actually kind of like it. In my opinion, it really has virtually nothing to do with that L45 that won the Indy500 back in 1916 – aside from some similarities in paint – but if it makes Peugeot feel better about its racing history, more power to it.

Does a concept like this accurately represent the future of cars of racing? Well, it’s hard to say, but assuming technology continues to unfold as it has, there is no reason why the features seen in this concept won’t eventually become a reality. The thing I really like about this concept is that while it is futuristic, it has a modern hybrid drivetrain that could make it possible for this car to become a reality. Normally, futuristic concepts like this are said to have some futuristic drivetrain, or are all-electric, with thousands of horsepower. But, Peugeot didn’t take that route. Instead, the modern drivetrain makes this concept a mix of the future and the present with a provocative body design that leaves us wondering whether or not we’ll ever see something like it on the track. Hopefully, we do, but until then, check out the photo gallery to see even more of Peugeot’s newest concept.

  • Leave it
    • Ahead of its time in styling and interior design
    • Cockpit looks like it might be uncomfortable
    • Not sure how well a virtual reality headset would work in a race car like this

Press Release

On 30 May 1916, the PEUGEOT L45 driven by Dario Resta won the mythical Indianapolis 500 race, at an average speed of 135 km/h. A hundred years later, PEUGEOT L500 R HYbrid, a futuristic interpretation of the Indy spirit, pays tribute to the incredible “Charlatans” team that brought PEUGEOT three superb US victories on the Indy 500 speedway from 1913 to 19191.

2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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A racing concept for intense driving sensations

PEUGEOT L500 R HYbrid hugs the asphalt to deliver its full potential right from pullaway. With its wide track, low profile (just one metre high) and light weight (1,000 kg), PEUGEOT L500 R HYbrid is made for performance: it takes just 2.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h from standstill, and 19 seconds to cover 1000 metres. Developped by PEUGEOT Sport teams, the 500-bhp plug-in hybrid petrol powertrain features two electric motors (one front and one rear) plus a 270 hp petrol engine, yielding peak torque of 730 Nm. Style-wise, the sleek lines run from the lion badge on the radiator grille toward the driver to end in a streamlined rear feature (a nod to the car’s century-old ancestor) highlighting the three distinctive rear lamp claws that form part of Peugeot’s design identity today.

Racing experience amplified through prospective vision of the PEUGEOT holographic i-Cockpit

Because the PEUGEOT L500 R HYbrid racing car is designed to be one with its driver, driving sensations are amplified by a driver compartment deliberately designed to form an individual floating capsule enclosed in the bodywork. Through a prospective concept, the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit technology takes a radical motorsport stance, with a small steering wheel embedded in the structure and two holograms showing information in dual disc displays. In their relentless quest for aerodynamic, the PEUGEOT teams reinterpreted the original L45 two-seat architecture to produce a single seater that offers a virtual co-pilot an amplified real-time racing experience through a virtual reality headset. The L500 R HYbrid is a timeless Peugeot, extending to the future with its forward-looking design, overtly acknowledging the past prowess of its predecessors, and proudly showing off some of Peugeot’s present-day design identity features, such as the front light signature seen on the PEUGEOT 3008 SUV, or the striking blue and black colour scheme as a reference both to the 500-bhp petrol hybrid drivechain and to the colour of the original L45.

A racing concept tribute to PEUGEOT prowess at the Indy speedway

2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid High Resolution Exterior
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PEUGEOT L500 R HYbrid pays tribute to the L45 and to Peugeot’s illustrious past in the USA, when the Lion claimed three victories in the 500-mile event at the Indianapolis speedway, the world’s second-oldest racetrack. The L45 (for 4.5 litres) took over from the L76, put together in 1912 by a team of intrepid young drivers known as the “Charlatans”, who produced a whole series of racers that would open a new age in racing engine design, through to 1919. The L76 was the first car in the world to use a four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder plus a dual overhead camshaft, and was the first modern racing car to reach 190 km/h.

At the wheel of Peugeot’s first racers —L76, L57, L3 and L45— the Charlatans claimed success after success on the racetracks of the world. Drivers Georges Boillot, Jules Goux and Paolo Zuccarelli, and engineer Ernest Henry, enjoy enduring renown for bold innovation. The team’s early American exploits marked the start of a string of exceptional victories for PEUGEOT Sport in the USA: Ari Vatanen in 1988 and Robby Unser in 1989 won the mythical Pikes Peak hill race with PEUGEOT 405 T16, and Sébastien Loeb’s PEUGEOT 208 T16 Pikes Peak made a record-breaking run in 2013, completing the 20 km to reach the summit in 8’13”878. There’s no let-up in the spirit of conquest at Peugeot; this was quite clear, for example, when Stéphane Peterhansel victoriously signed PEUGEOT comeback to the Dakar, after its four successive wins from 1987 to 1990.

2016 Peugeot L500 R HYbrid High Resolution Exterior
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“With PEUGEOT L500 R HYbrid we’re paying tribute to PEUGEOT racing exploits dating to the early 20th century. Inspired by this spirit of performance and innovation we wanted to convey a sculptural, elegant and technological view of the future of PEUGEOT motor sport”, explains Matthias Hossann, Peugeot’s concept car and technological advance chief.

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