It was May 30, 1916, when the Peugeot L45 driven by Dario Resta won the Indianapolis 500. A hundred years later, the company pays tribute to that success with the L500 R HYbrid racing concept.
The L45 was named after its 4.5-liter engine, that took over from the L76 and was put together by a team of young drivers, known as the “Charlatans”, who managed to bring in three victories on the Indy 500 speedway, from 1913 to 1919.
Peugeot’s new concept, on the other hand, is a futuristic study just 1 meters (39.37 in) tall and tips the scales at 1,000 kg (2,205 lbs) has a plug-in hybrid powertrain, developed by Peugeot Sport Teams, with a 270 PS (266 HP) petrol engine and two electric motors, one on each axle, producing a total of 500 PS (493 HP) and 730 Nm (538 lb-ft) of torque, enough to propel it from naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.5 seconds.
It has a long and sleek body with lines running from the Lion badge on the grille towards the rear, but it does bear one common thing with the classic racer: its color combo. Speaking of which, the dual-tone blue and black scheme is a reference to both the 3008 R HYbrid petrol-hybrid and the L45, while the front light signature of reminds of the latest 3008.
“With the L500 R HYbrid we’re paying tribute to PEUGEOT racing exploits dating to the early 20th century. Inspired by this spirit of performance and innovation we wanted to convey a sculptural, elegant and technological view of the future of PEUGEOT motorsport“, explained Matthias Hossan, the brand’s concept car and technological advance chief.
Peugeot’s engineers and designers worked closely together to develop the car that is “one with its driver”, as the manufacturer writes, making use of the brand’s i-Cockpit technology that takes a motorsport stance with a small steering wheel and two holograms showing info in dual disc displays. The original two-seat architecture of the L45 was reinterpreted by the French, who came up with a single-seater design.