Peugeot RCZ racer impresses with convincing win at the Nurburgring Dominant class victory at season opener

Peugeot RCZ racer impresses with convincing win at the Nurburgring Dominant class victory at season opener

Team Peugeot RCZ Nokia made quite an impression on its debut run in the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring, Germany recently. At the 59th ADAC Westfalenfahrt, Peugeot racing drivers Julien Piguet, Julien Rueflin, Steven Palette and Paul Englert steered the Peugeot RCZ Racing Cup to an impressive class victory. The race which was scheduled to last four hours was cut short by 80 minutes due to safety concerns about poor visibility due to fog. Race stewards awarded the points on the basis of the distance covered by the racers.

Said Bob Seshadri, general manager of European Motors on the maiden success of the RCZ race car: “Although the RCZ is a new car on the racing circuit, Team Peugeot RCZ Nokia has used a customer sport version of the RCZ developed by Peugeot Sport in Vélizy, France. Previously, diesel-powered RCZ cars were raced and for the first time this year, the team decided to use lighter and more efficient petrol versions.

Peugeot Sport developed the RCZ race car with a petrol turbocharged unit that currently delivers 260hp and is mated to a fast shifting sequential automated manual transmission. The key benefit was that the car is lighter by 120kg, has better balance on track and in endurance race can extend range with additional fuel on board which also means less refueling stops. Besides these, the car’s aerodynamic kit was also modified to increase downforce at higher speeds. The street legal RCZ that we are selling in Oman has some of these cutting edge technology applications – especially in the powertrain department.”

One-two result in qualifying
In 9m 46.222s, Michael Bohrer, Stéphane Caillet, Jürgen Nett and Steven Palette marked a dominant best time in qualifying in the SP2T class, 31.817s faster than their team-mates in the second RCZ Racing Cup. BMW’s MINI came in third place was more than a minute slower. “The car feels fantastic,” said pole setter Michael Bohrer. “Compared with the diesel, we are 100kg lighter and have a clearly better weight distribution. The new suspension with a longer spring system is a perfect fit for the world’s most difficult race track as we now have much better cornering forces.”

Jürgen Nett, who drove the start, took the lead in class right from the first metre on and in 9m 26.493s marked a commanding best time but then had to come in for an unscheduled pit stop after three laps. “The intake manifold in the engine was defective and had to be repaired. Unfortunately, that took almost an hour and a half,” explained General Manager Olivier Perez. “The RCZ Peugeot Sport is a completely new car for us and we’ve still got a lot to learn. Our big aim is the 24-hour race in May. By that time, we want to assure the stability of the RCZ Racing Cup.”

Class winners’ race went without problems
Julien Rueflin prepared the ground for the success of the 260hp high performance turbo petrol engine. “After Jürgen Nett’s problems I was able to take the lead and to consistently extend it. I particularly enjoyed the new sequential gearbox.” After six laps Julien Piguet took the wheel of the dynamic sport coupé as planned. “Due to slight drizzling rain I opted for intermediates but the rain got heavier and heavier,” said the Frenchman, explaining his additional stop three laps later. “On rain tyres I was able to overtake much more powerful competitors. A big ‘well done’ to our partner partner Kumho. The tyres provided perfect grip in any condition.” Shortly after Steven Palette had taken over the cockpit the race was stopped early due to visibility having dropped below 50m in the start finish area.