Exactly 100 years ago, on May 30, 1916, the Peugeot L45 driven by Dario Resta was taking home the famous Indy 500 trophy with an impressive – for the time – average speed of 83.8 mph (135 km/h).
Today, the French automaker has decided to celebrate the feat with a 500-hp hybrid prototype designed as the vision of a futuristic racecar. We’re getting used now to see Peugeot deliver stunning concepts that have nothing to do with the sometimes dull range of passenger cars it sells today. This is again the case and we’re hoping more of the design ideas of these visionary stylists will get the chance to shine through inside the line-up, like the Peugeot’s iCockpit second generation as seen in the second generation 3008 crossover.
Peugeot is both celebrating the achievement that took place a century ago and also introducing their vision of the future of racing. The L500 R hybrid looks set to star in the next installment of the Gran Turismo series alongside the Vision Gran Turismo, but we know best and we can treat this as a one-time appearance. With radical styling, the L500 R Hybrid has been thought up by Peugeot Sport and comes to pay its respects to the successful L45 – with a futuristic twist. The latter is supported by the driver compartment that makes a single floating capsule within the bodywork. The L45 was a two-seater, but the L500 R Hybrid is a monoplace with a minimalistic steering wheel and a holographic i-Cockpit with two displays projected in dual discs.
Peugeot Sport also brings us a powerful plug-in hybrid setup, which mates a 270-hp gasoline engine with dual electric motors, one for each axle for all-wheel drive. The total combined output stands at a respectable 500 hp (368 kW) and 539 pound-feet (730 Newton meters) of torque. This is enough to propel the L500 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in only two and a half seconds and cover 1,000 meters (0.62 miles) in just 19 seconds. The L500 also weighs in at just 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) and looks like it adheres to the pavement due to the extremely low height of just one meter (39.3 inches).