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Peugeot 908 RC Concept

Broadcast date : 10th December 2006

Peugeotís symbol is The Lion, and for 2007 it seems as if the French company has decreed itís time the lionís earth-trembling voice was heard again.

This is the Peugeot 908 RC. Yes, itís a concept car, but its name pays tribute to the 908 V12 engine, designed and already built for the 2007 Le Mans, which is fitted to this very real, very workable car that originally was conceived as a limousine.

This beautiful machine can now best be described as a supercar with limousine capabilities. 

What makes the 908 RC so special is that its engine is a V12 diesel, and were it to go into series production, this would undoubtedly be the fastest road-going diesel ever built.

The numbers speak for themselves. Over 515 kiloWatts, 1200 Newton metres of torque, and performance that sees it run the standing kilometre in 22 seconds, and enjoy a maximum speed well in excess of 300 km/h.

The French Lion, of course, is no stranger to power and competing for the spoils of victory.

Since the dawn of the motorcar, Peugeot has been winning major races, including Indianapolis nearly a century ago, with one of the worldís first twin overhead camshaft engines.

More recently there have been double Le Mans victories in 1992 and 1993. And World Rally Championship successes in the 1980s, and a notable WRC championship triple a couple of years ago.

This year sees Peugeot return to Le Mans to compete once again for overall honours. But this time, with a difference. This time, with a diesel engine.

The Peugeot Le Mans 908 V-12 HDi DPFS engine is a masterpiece, even if its working title isnít. Its cylinder banks are angled at 100 degrees for a low centre of gravity, it has a Garrett turbocharger for each bank. The DPFS bit stands for diesel particulate filter system, which means it runs soot-free. We just wish diesel engines made a better sound.

Just in case you thought Peugeot had forsaken rallying, take heart in the fact that the new 207 Super 2000 is now a reality.

This is a two-litre naturally-aspirated car that will be series-produced, albeit in limited numbers, for privateers to run in the new European Super 2000 rally regulations.

In fact these regs arenít new to South Africans. The South African Rally Commission invented the formula way back in 1989, and it has taken the Europeans some eighteen years to adapt a similar set of rules.

Of course, this means that a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 rally car could be run locally in our championship. While Peugeot donít have plans to run one as a factory entry, we wonder whether any wealthy local privateers currently running Subarus and Mitsubishis would consider a switch?

As for the new Le Mans car, we have to say it is breathtakingly beautiful. Peugeot has always been known to produce good-looking race and rally cars, and this new diesel challenger for outright victory is better-looking than anything weíve seen at the Sarthe circuit since, well, maybe when the Jaguars won there in 1988.

Thatís no disrespect to Audi, of course, who have made Le Mans their own since 2000, and last year scored the first victory in the race for a diesel car. 

Rest assured that Audi is taking the Peugeot challenge VERY seriously.

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