Good news, ladies and gents. Bona fide driving god Sebastien Loeb – nine time WRC champ and disciple of practically every motorsport worth talking about – is once again competing in the wild world of rallycross. He’s back for another year alongside Brothers Timmy and Kevin Hansen. And they’ll be driving this.
This, is a 208 WRX with 560bhp. Although we don’t have any more numbers yet, the car is apparently lighter and faster than ever and has more, usable torque. There’s also revised, beefed up front uspension, dampers and bigger wheels (remember it needs to simultaneously compete on gravel and tarmac), as well as a faster gearshift and new roll cage. A new ginormous wing is out back as well as swollen bumpers which make it quite the departure from the regular 208.
For the first time the new car is being developed in-house at Peugeot’s gaff in France – away from the joint dev cycle it’s had with Hansen Motorsport over the years.
“This marks the start of an exciting year for us, as the FIA World Rallycross Championship will be Peugeot’s key motorsport engagement in a factory capacity,” said Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin.
World RX is expected to switch to electric cars for the 2020 season, and Famin added expectations would have to be managed this year while the manufacturer plotted its future involvement in electric rallycross.
“Even though we have some past knowledge of the sport, we have to be realistic as our competitors are very experienced while we will have to train our team for this new discipline from scratch,” he said.
“Despite this big challenge, we are aiming for some wins this season, then something more in the seasons beyond.
“We decided to participate in world rallycross because we firmly believe in the future of this sport: the sporting format is short, intense and exciting, the audience is younger than in other categories and is still growing, and furthermore we also believe in the electric future of the championship.”
We can’t wait to see the rip-snorter of a hatchback in action. But rallycross going electric. What are your thoughts on that?