Peugeot RC Cup test
Intro: It needed something daring and thats just what Peugeot have done!
Esthetique: A new lion cub on the track
Its a Peugeot all right, a new lion cub on the tracks. A lion cub thats got something up its sleeve, or should we say, under its bonnet. The engine...a diesel running on a Diester/Gas 50/50 mix!!
And the cockpit is just as racy.
In fact, once youve been able to deal with the sensations procured by the 2.2 HDI, the name of the game is taking advantage of the chassis performance. Not easy to push this engine to the limits once its glued to the asphalt thanks to some slick rubber. And each series gets a faster result. And it just keeps on progressing!
Motorization: Great on track
Driven by a bio-fuel mix, the 2.2 Hdi allows the RC Cup to show off its stuff in "ecologically-correct" racing. And to celebrate, it gets up to 178 hp with 380 Nm of torque as early as 2,500 revs/min. And since the RC Cup weighs in at only 800 kg, those are some promising statistics.
And it must be a strange feeling indeed, as Eric Hélary, one of the test drivers, admits.
"At first glance, youre a little surprised because, for obvious reasons, the engine runs slowly, you get 4,500 rpm maximum and so you have to re-learn how to drive using the torque. So in the beginning its both surprising and unpleasant. Then you finally realize, lap after lap, that you have to "rise up" a bit to make time and that, even if it is a Diesel, it goes real fast. Were only 6 seconds behind the Super touring cars."
On the road: A true single-seater
Time for the Nogaro track. A weird feeling coming out of the stands with a hard clutch pedal, no steering assistance and that well known turbo diesel sound buzzing in your ears.
Yes, disconcerting. Strange to go faster and faster with a six-gear sequential box while the load flirts with 4,200 revs/min, as if the speed ranges were ultra short.
And yet, heres confirmation that the torque really is terrific. Thanks to it and to a nice power-weight ratio, the RC Cup provides lots of groovy sensations and accelerations. Whew ! We really are behind the wheel of a race car after all.
Made to please right from the start, with its front portion very hard and its rear area more flexible (that helps driveability), the RC Cup just gobbles up curves with unnerving ease. However, youll need some muscle going into the hairpins: the steering will get harder, and shell start to under steer. Proof that youll have to go even faster next time to perform that oh-so-necessary transfer of mass. Uh...maybe next time.
As for the brakes, they are nothing less than remarkable. OK, you have to stomp on them, but, hey, coming down a straight line at some 200 km/hr, the RC Cup remains right on track and you can even have some fun with braking distances with no worries.
In the end, we really had a ball behind the wheel of an RC Cup, a true single-seater racing car, which needs some real muscle to drive. Youll come away from the experience soaking wet, exhausted...and with a smile from ear to ear. The Diesel engine? We almost forgot about it thanks to such a great chassis. And Peugeot has guaranteed performance for the 25 drivers of the Cup event. Theyre going to have to roll up their sleeves if they want to come out the winner. Its up to the public now, to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.