407 and rally cars
date : 2nd May 2004
Peugeot's 407 is due to be launched here in July and it won't
be a minute too soon when it arrives here. The 406 sedan it
replaces is a car with impeccable road holding, build and
lusty performance, but it is clothed in the automotive
equivalent of a safari suit... plain boring in other words.
The 407 is set to change all that.
It has a very aggressive front end, a rakish profile and a
harmonious rear end that is an object lesson to the likes of
BMW, who rarely seem to be able to integrate the taillights
with the bootlid.
The South African spec is still to be finalised, but it is
likely to include a mix of petrol and diesel engines. In
Europe it is available with a total of six engines ranging
from an 80-kilowatt diesel to a hundred and fifty five
Hopefully we'll get at least one diesel model and the V6, as
this engine was the cherry on top of the 406 series the new
Peugeot 407 Silhouette
Perhaps to shed itself once-and-for-all of the tweed and
hushpuppies image, Peugeot has also produced an astounding
concept version of the 407 called the Silhouette.
A pure show car at this stage, this two-door car is a track
racer in essence, but fully equipped with headlights,
taillights mirrors and everything else needed to make it
The 407 bodywork has been appreciably "fattened" by
flared wheel arches, side skirts, aerodynamic splitters at the
front and a massive rear tail wing.
In fact the bodywork is manufactured entirely in carbon fibre
and beneath the body is a complete racing tubular chassis.
The V6 engine is mid-mounted, with the gearbox located behind
the engine and driving the rear wheels.
The gearbox is a six-speed sequential racing gearbox with
direct dog location and straight-cut gears.
The engine is a modified version of the production V6 and has
been tweaked to produce 230 kW, some 75 kW more than the
standard V6 powering the top-line 407
The suspension is a double wishbone, classic racing set-up,
with roll bars that are adjustable from the cockpit. This
means the driver can adjust the stiffness of the suspension at
both the front and rear axles when on the move.
The cockpit is pure track racer and the steering wheel
incorporates a GPS, or satellite display that enables the
display of a race circuit map. It also offers an "optimum
racing line" for circuits, using cartographic data
supplied by satellite of the racetrack being used at the time.
The cockpit nevertheless uses dashboard and door panels that
are based on those of the standard road car. But there are
only two seats in the Silhouette and trim levels are at a
minimum to keep weight down.
Peugeot havenít issued performance data for this one-off
concept racer, but you can figure on a nought to one hundred
time of under five seconds and top speed of over three hundred
kilometres per hour.
Peugeot 307 WRC
Of course, Peugeot is famous for its dominance of the World
Rally Championship over the past few seasons. And this new 307
WRC, or World Rally Championship challenger is designed to
keep Peugeot in front.
The car is based on the new Peugeot 307 cc, but without the
removable top option we showed you a few episodes ago.
But it hasn't been going all Peugeot's way this year, as
victories have gone to Citroen and then Subaru.
However, at the recent Rally of New Zealand the 307 in the
hands of double world champion Marcus Gronholm, the car is now
right on the pace. Only bad luck prevented Gronholm from
taking victory from Subaru, and in the final stage he closed
to within five seconds of victory.
Some motorsport experts feel that the World Rally Championship
requires more involvement than Formula One. Certainly the
logistics of crew and cars are much more difficult than
circuit racing, and the teams budgets are enormous.
The cars all conform to a two-litre, four-wheel-drive formula
laid out by the FIA, the world's motorsport controlling body.
The suspension systems are computer controlled, as are the
differentials, which can be altered infinitesimally to split
torque between front and rear and to each individual wheel.
The Peugeot uses a turbocharged four cylinder engine that
produces two hundred and twenty five kilowatts, at just five
thousand, two hundred and fifty rpm. It is not about power in
rallying, but putting power to the road.
Thus the torque is available from low in the rev range and
there is five hundred and eighty Newton metres on call at
three thousand five hundred rpm.
In fact such is the spread of torque that this year Peugeot is
using a four-speed gearbox in the 307. Peugeot reasons that
much time is wasted changing gear on a rally special stage.
This year there are 16 rounds of the WRC and rallying has
never been more competitive.
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