Toyota shut down its Formula One program in 2009 and didn’t get to Le Mans until last year, filling the vacuum left by Peugeot’s departure at the end of the previous season. In the meantime, the engineers at Toyota Motorsport GmbH developed the TMG Sports 650. Peugeot Sport had a similar lull after shuttering its LMP1 program before it launched Sebastien Loeb’s 208 T16 Pikes Peak challenger this summer. This is what they were working on in the meantime.
It’s called the Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE, and it’s set to debut next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Working in partnership with French oil company Total, the Peugeot racing team applied many of the lessons it learned from developing the 908 HDi FAP prototype to a base Peugeot 208 Access.
They bored out the 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine to 1.2 liters, gave it direct injection, replaced all the internal components and coated new ones in DLC (Diamond-Like Coating, a hardener used in motorsports engines and suspension components). All of this was done in order to increase torque by 25 percent (now up to 88 pound-feet) while keeping power steady at 68 horses. They then installed the 908′s electric motor for another 22 lb-ft of torque, along with its lightweight lithium-ion battery pack. They decreased aerodynamic drag by 25 percent (thanks in part to low-rolling-resistance rubber and a narrower track) and cut 20 percent off the structure’s curb weight to optimize efficiency.
The result is a prototype that sacrifices none of the donor car’s creature comforts (save for the air conditioning system) and can hit 62 mph from a standstill in 8 seconds flat, return 141.2 mpg (on Europe’s liberal efficiency cycle) and emit just 49 grams of CO2 per kilometer. All of which may not be as exciting as what Toyota’s racing team did with their down time, but as environmental impact becomes increasingly vital to global automakers, it could prove more important.
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Official: Peugeot reveals Le Mans-derived 208 Hybrid FE prototype