Peugeot is looking to link its motorsport and road car activities with a new era of hot cars, as well as a possible attempt on the 31-year-old Nürburgring lap record. The move is also intended to signify the brand's move upmarket.
In the wake of the sales success of the 208 GTI and RCZ R, Peugeot is believed to have a 308 R — a Seat Leon Cupra rival — in development for launch next year. A fast 2008 road car, capitalising on the firm’s new Dakar challenger, is also rumoured.
Autocar understands that the Peugeot 308 R, as with the RCZ R, will be developed by Peugeot Sport, the company’s motorsport division.
Bruno Famin, head of Peugeot Sport, said: “I cannot reveal what cars we have planned, but it is clear that we can play a role on projects that need turning around relatively quickly or that are small-volume specialist projects.”
Xavier Peugeot, head of product, added: “As we seek to establish a more premium image, it is clear there are more and more opportunities for projects that add halo cars to ranges, including the addition of fast cars in the range.”
As well as the RCZ R, Peugeot Sport was responsible for the recent 208 FE concept car, which showcased numerous technologies to reduce fuel consumption without compromising performance. “We can do all specialist projects — not just performance cars,” said Famin.
Famin is also overseeing the return of the 208 T16, which smashed the Pikes Peak hillclimb record last year, to competition at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. The team has already said it will try to beat the hill record of 41.6sec, set by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren F1 car in 1999.
Rumours persist that the T16 will be used for headline-grabbing one-off projects beyond Goodwood. An assault on the outright lap record of the Nürburgring, set by Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956 Group C racer in 1983, at 6min 11.13sec, is rumoured. “I can’t say what we will do,” said Famin.
Other manufacturers will be watching what Peugeot does at the 'Ring with keen eyes. Renault is expected to make its own attempt at claiming back the time record from Seat, while VW has also been spotted testing on the circuit with a stripped-out 'super GTI' model.