Speaking at this week’s international launch of the new Peugeot 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport, Peugeot product communication officer Pierre Yves Etienney said achieving a specific Nurburgring lap time is not something the company is interested in.
“No,” Etienney said bluntly. “We don’t play that game.
"We know that [others] will do [laps] for us, and we are waiting patiently to see that result. But we are not in that game.”
Commenting indirectly on the likes of the record-breaking Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R (pictured above) and Seat Leon Cupra 280, Etienney questioned the validity and relevance of such record-setting cars.
“It’s easy to set a new lap record,” Etienney said.
“You never know what [the car manufacturer] has changed on the car, what is the pressure in the tyres, and so on. You never know. Is it really a production car or has it been tuned by their sport department?
“We have developed the [308 GTi] both for road users and also to have fun on track. And that’s it.”
Admitting that Peugeot’s renewed focus on its Peugeot Sport division is, at least in part, related to the success fellow French brand Renault has had with its in-house performance division RenaultSport, Etienney said not taking advantage of the arm’s know-how would have been a shame.
“Of course we see what other brands do – of course.
“We knew we had enormous potential with Peugeot Sport, and it would have been a pity not to use it.”
Asked if Peugeot is considering a more hardcore or extreme version of the 308 GTi – say, something to sit between the normal GTi and the competition-only 308 Racing Cup – Etienney responds, suggesting it isn’t on the agenda as yet.
“Right now, we have developed that car for road users with five seats inside the car. We haven’t thought about another version like a Cup one, but it could be possible…”
Potentially hinting at a future follow-up project involving Peugeot Sport and the 308 GTi, the PR adds with a smile, “Remember many years ago at the time of the 205 GTi, we also had a 205 Rallye – which was lighter with less equipment and so on…”
Starting with the RCZ R back in 2013, the first Peugeot Sport-developed production car, Peugeot, with the help of its motorsport subsidiary, has so far launched the 208 GTi and the new 308 GTi – all featuring the Euro-6 compliant 1.6 L THP powerplant.
With up to 200kW and 330Nm, and claiming 6.0-seconds 0-100km/h, the new turbocharged 1.6-litre Peugeot 308 GTi is due to launch locally in early 2016. Stay tuned for the review coming soon.
Note: For the record (pun intended), the limited edition, two-seat Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R holds the front-wheel-drive lap record around the 20.8-kilometre Nordschleife with a time of 7:54.36 – more than four seconds faster than the Seat Leon Cupra 280's time of 7:58.44.