When we first reported that rally ace Sébastien Loeb would be driving Peugeot's 875 hp monster up the treacherous Pikes Peak hill climb, it was clear that a record breaking time was on the cards. But what actually transpired was more than just record breaking: it was total annihilation, as Loeb completed his run in 8:13.878, over a minute and a half faster than the previous best.
Loeb is more than a nine-time consecutive World Rally Champion, as mind-blowing as that feat remains. He's also a second place finisher in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He's won the Race of Champions three times, competing against the world's best drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One, sports cars, and more. He also won an X-Games Gold Medal in Rallycross at his first attempt. And now, with his incredible record at Pikes Peak, helped in part by the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak race car, Sébastien Loeb marks his place as the greatest all-round racer of our generation, if not the greatest of all-time.
Rhys Millen's previous record time set in 2012 was a 9:46.164. Millen himself improved 44 seconds on that record in this year's race, but was still shy of Loeb's run by 49 seconds. That's a staggering separation in an event that runs on a mere 12.72 mile course, similar in length to the legendary Nordschleife, where auto manufactures fight for every second in an effort to one-up their competitors.
Now the nine-minute barrier has been thoroughly obliterated, the target sits squarely at mustering a sub eight. And with the way things are progressing, that milestone stands as being close to reality--at least for Peugeot and Loeb, that is. For now, the French brigade can celebrate as outright victors, destroying the field in the race to the clouds.