This is Peugeot’s arrow-tip for the 208 range. Its full name is the Peugeot 208 R2 and yes, it is a rally car that you can buy. If you’re living in Europe, that is. The R2 has been in development since 2011 and it’ll be put to test at the Tour de Corse on May 10–12 in France, where Stéphan Sarrazin and co-driver Benjamin Veillas will drive the car.
Because you can get this off the shelf, Peugeot has put extra eyeballs on the car’s reliability, with additional attention to transmission, electrics and electronics. To make ownership less of a migraine, Peugeot sourced parts from existing cars and assemblies as well as PSA Group’s customer competition catalogue. That way, the number of parts is significantly reduced.
What can you expect from the 208 R2? A leaner car, definitely. The 208 R2 is about 40 kg lighter than the 207 Super 2000 rally car. The R2 also inherits the 208’s long wheelbase, has a lower centre of gravity and short overhangs, to make the car tighter all around. The structural integrity of the R2 is reinforced with a multi-point, welded roll cage.
Providing the firepower is a naturally-aspirated 1,600 cc engine derived from the 1.6 litre VTi. It produces 185 hp and 190 Nm of torque, according to the spec sheet. Specifically, the engine produces 116 hp/litre. Peugeot says this is a totally new competition version of the VTi, which is equipped with variable valve timing (VVT) for the intake and exhaust. The low-weight body and naturally-aspirated engine have made the car fuel-friendly also.
Peugeot worked closely with Sodemo to make the engine driver-friendly, choosing to focus on flexibility rather than peak power that often goes unused. The 208 R2 kits will be sold with the engine built, run-in and checked on the dyno.
Paired with the engine is a new gearbox. The unit is a five-speed manual sequential gearbox mounted on the steering column instead of on the floor. This makes the lever much shorter and higher, and the shifts are more direct and precise because it is in line with the gearbox. The gearbox also gets cooling air ducts at the front that sucks in air to the fins built into the front part of the casing. The heat and oil of the gearbox is cooled this way.
Peugeot have saved the three-way adjustable dampers and shoehorned it into the front of the 208 R2. As for the rear, the R2 rides on a strengthen H-beam modified to accommodate an anti-roll bar. Additionally, there are also new bespoke adjustable Öhlins dampers with hydraulic bump stops for the front and rear. The R2 also has a specific wishbone arrangement that increases suspension travel. Which simply means the R2 has better traction.
As for the steering, Peugeot dumped the electric power steering in favour of a hydraulic system, merging it with a higher-ratio hydraulic rack for more precision and comfort. The hydraulic system is also better at feedback especially on loose surfaces.
The diametre of the brake discs are dictated by regulations, so that cannot be changed. What is different is the single Alcon caliper with standard, re-machined ventilated discs. And because of the floating caliper arrangement, only the mount needs to be moved to get the R2 from gravel-spec to asphalt-spec.
The R2’s wheels follow regulations and have different specifications. For asphalt, the R2 wears the 6.5 X 16, while gravel tracks require the R2 to put on the 6 X 15 wheels – Michelin tyres provide grip.
The price – if you have a 208, you need to spend €37,500 for the kit that includes a fully-built engine. If you want to buy the car in fully built form, you need €57,500. In both cases, you can spec it to gravel or asphalt. Deliveries are scheduled for November this year.
One more thing, before the year ends, Peugeot will also be releasing a circuit version of the 208 that features specification similar to the R2. The circuit version will be followed by a FIA R5-compliant 208 in September, which will replace the 207 Super 2000 rally car at national and international levels.