As promised, Peugeot today unveiled the 2008 DKR Dakar racer that will debut in the 2015 edition of the famous rally-raid event. The big surprise, besides the aggressive design of the car, is that Peugeot Sport engineers opted for two-wheel drive instead of all-wheel drive.
Going for two-wheel drive allows Peugeot to run in the buggy class, which has less restrictions than the 4WD class in which the X-Raid Mini Countryman runs.
As the photos reveal, the 2008 DKR doesn’t have too much in common with the production car, except for identification details like the grille, headlights and taillights. The racecar is much more muscular, with the aggressive stance dictated by the technical constraints associated with its mission.
“Given the off-road capability of two-wheel drive transmission and its ability to run on sand, that’s the choice we ultimately went for. It enabled us to fit bigger wheels and also to benefit from more suspension travel,” said Jean-Christophe Pailler, Project Leader at Peugeot Sport. As a consequence, the Peugeot 2008 DKR rides on 37-inch (almost 940mm) diameter Michelin tyres.
Carrying over the road car’s styling cues to the rear of the new 2008 DKR proved an easier job than doing the same thing for the front end. “Due to the off-road capability needed, the approach angle had to be very high. This meant a very short overhang, which in turn resulted in a front-end design that was quite different to that of the production version,” explains Giovanni Rizzo, the 2008’s exterior designer.
For the moment, Peugeot remains silent about the powertrain and doesn’t say whether the car is rear-wheel drive of front-wheel drive. However, given that Red Bull is a major partner of Team Peugeot Total and that the energy drink giant’s team entered two rear-wheel drive, petrol-powered buggies at the 2014 Dakar (one of them driven by Carlos Sainz), it won’t be a surprise if the 2008 DKR features a similar setup. If that is the case, why not recycle the 875hp engine from the 208 T16 Pikes Peak?
By Dan Mihalascu