When we spoke to Sebastien Loeb before his Pikes Peak run, he hoped to take more than 45 seconds off the previous record. Well today he did, and a lot more than that. He reached the summit in an astonishing time of 8m 13.878s – a minute and a half under the previous record and twice what he’d hoped for. Count us stunned.. but not surprised.
All week Peugeot Sport’s 208 T16 has torn up ‘America’s mountain’ to such an extent that we’ve had to re-calibrate our sense of speed. Even with competition from Rhys Millen’s 900hp Hyundai PM580T, and Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, Loeb’s pace in the Unlimited class has been the equivalent of Usain Bolt rocking up at a primary school’s sports day.
For his run, the mountain was kind to him – maybe because he’s a rookie. The conditions for the 12.42 mile, 156 turn course were as good as they could’ve been: dry, yet cool at the top (to help the turbos). Shortly after Seb crossed the finish line the weather changed as the top of the mountain experienced four seasons in the space of an hour. It decided to rain, dry up, snow and then throw a tablecloth of fog completely over the top of the mountain that refused to clear. If Seb’s run had been half an hour later, the outcome for his race to the clouds could’ve been a completely different story.
Even so, it wasn’t just Seb who broke records. Pikes Peak legend Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima set a new electric record in his 2013 E-Runner Pikes Peak Special, clocking a time of 9:46.530. That’s faster than he ever managed in his petrol powered Suzuki SX4 –the first car to ever break the magical ten minute barrier which shows how seriously some are taking ‘leccy powered cars.
The times are literally changing at Pikes Peak, but we reckon that Seb’s record will stand for a long, long time. Check back in the next few days for a full gallery on today’s events. And now Seb has ticked Pikes Peak off his bucket list, what do you think he should do next?
Words / pictures: Rowan Horncastle