A production car based on the 200kW-plus Peugeot 308 R concept will reportedly lead a motorsport-inspired charge by the French car maker, aimed at boosting its image and potentially seeing it break a 31-year-old Nurburgring lap record.
UK publication Autocar reports a production version of the Peugeot 308 R – the go-fast hatchback concept that debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show – is already well under development and earmarked for a 2015 launch.
Set to rival some of the fastest front-wheel-drive cars to lap Germany’s infamous 20.8km Nurburgring circuit including the Renault Megane RS265 and Seat Leon Cupra 280, the high-performance Peugeot 308 R will use the same 199kW/330Nm turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder seen in the RCZ R, developed in-house by Peugeot’s motorsport division.
Peugeot Sport head Bruno Famin told Autocar the performance arm will have a significant role to play in upcoming production cars and future “small-volume specialist projects”.
The R models are designed to further aid Peugeot’s plan “to establish a more premium image” according to Peugeot product chief Xavier Peugeot. He suggested offering product lines “including the addition of fast cars” is something there is clearly more opportunity for.
An upcoming attempt to break a 6:11.13-sec lap of Germany’s Nurburgring set in 1983 by Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956 Group C racecar is also rumoured, with a tight-lipped Famin saying: “I can’t say what we will do”.
Nurburgring lap times have been making headlines in recent months, with the upcoming Honda Civic Type R, a special #under8 Renault Megane RS model and the Seat Leon Cupra 280 all vying for the record. The latest high-performance Volkswagen Golf – the Golf R 400 – is also believed to have been spied undergoing testing at the Green Hell in GTI disguise.
Hinting at the future expansion of Peugeot Sport’s involvement, Famin said: “We can do all specialist projects — not just performance cars”.
Previously responsible for the Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE – an ultra-fuel-efficient concept claiming combined cycle fuel consumption of just 2.1 litres per 100km and a 0-100km/h time of 8.0 seconds – Peugeot Sport is also rumoured to be playing a hand in special edition 2008 road car inspired by the recently revealed 2008 DKR Dakar-bound racer (pictured above).
Completing the hardcore push, Famin is said to be in charge of the Pikes Peak record-beating Peugeot 208 T16‘s upcoming attempt to break the 15-year-old Goodwood hillclimb record of 41.6sec set by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren Formula One car at the iconic location’s 1999 Festival of Speed.