In May 1916, the Peugeot L45 driven by Dario Resta won the Indianapolis 500 race. 100 years on, the Peugeot L500 R HYbrid,
a futuristic version, pays tribute to the team that brought Peugeot 3 US victories on the Indy 500 speedway from 1913 - 1919.
The Peugeot L500 R HYbrid hugs the asphalt to deliver its full potential right from pullaway. With its wide track, low profile (just one metre high) and light weight (1,000 kg), the Peugeot L500 R HYbrid is made for performance: it takes only 2.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h from standstill, and 19 seconds to cover 1000 metres.
Developed by Peugeot Sport, the 500-bhp plug-in hybrid petrol powertrain features two electric motors (one front and one rear) plus a 270hp petrol engine, yielding a peak torque of 730 Nm.
Style-wise, the sleek lines run from the lion badge on the radiator grille toward the driver to end in a streamlined rear feature (a nod to the car’s century-old ancestor), highlighting the three distinctive rear lamp claws that form part of Peugeot’s design identity today.
Because the Peugeot L500 R HYbrid racing car is designed to be at one with its driver, driving sensations are amplified by a driver compartment deliberately designed to form an individual floating capsule enclosed in the bodywork.
Through a prospective concept, the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® technology takes a radical motorsport stance, with a small steering wheel embedded in the structure and two holograms showing information in dual disc displays.
In their relentless quest for aerodynamic perfection, the Peugeot teams reinterpreted the original L45 two-seat architecture to produce a single seater that offers a virtual co-pilot and amplified real-time racing experience through a virtual reality headset, making the L500 R HYbrid a truly timeless Peugeot.
The Peugeot L500 R HYbrid pays tribute to the L45 and to Peugeot’s illustrious past in the USA, when the Lion claimed three victories in the 500-mile event at the Indianapolis speedway, the world’s second-oldest racetrack.
The L45 (for 4.5 litres) took over from the L76, put together in 1912 by a team of intrepid young drivers known as the “Charlatans”, who produced a whole series of racers that would open a new age in racing engine design, through to 1919. The L76 was the first car in the world to use a four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder plus a dual overhead camshaft, and was the first modern racing car to reach 190 km/h.
At the wheel of Peugeot’s first racers — L76, L57, L3 and L45 — the Charlatans claimed success after success on the racetracks of the world. Drivers Georges Boillot, Jules Goux and Paolo Zuccarelli, and engineer Ernest Henry, enjoyed enduring renown for bold innovation. The team’s early American exploits marked the start of a string of exceptional victories for Peugeot Sport in the USA: Ari Vatanen in 1988 and Robby Unser in 1989 won the mythical Pikes Peak hill race with Peugeot 405 T16, and Sébastien Loeb’s Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak made a record-breaking run in 2013, completing the 20 km to reach the summit in 8’13”878.