Thursday, 19 May 2011

BTCC Peugeot 406

In 1996, Total Team Peugeot replaced the 405 Mi16 with the all new 406 BTCC racer, driven by Tim Harvey and Patrick Watts. The car wasn't successful throughout the season, with Harvey describing his three years with the team as 'not particularly inspiring'; Watts managed the unfortunate accolade of being the lowest-placed works driver of the season. With MSD tweaking the car for '97, the 406 performed a little better... but not much; the renamed Esso Ultron Team Peugeot managed to come 6th out of 8 teams, with Harvey and Watts finishing the season in 9th and 16th places respectively.
With Watts replaced by Radisich in 1998, the team managed to come dead last, with Harvey and Radisich in 17th and 14th place.

This palpable lack of success wasn't the car's fault per se - it was its aero set-up that was scuppering it. A multi-series design, the 406 wasn't specifically tweaked for the BTCC (which was contested over a variety of tight, twisty course across Britain), but rather for the wider and more expansive circuits of Germany. Laurent Aiello - later to become BTCC champion for Nissan in '99 - found phenomenal success in the 406 in the SuperTourenwagen Cup: he came third in 1996, and won the championship in '97.
So, while British memories of the 406 may be as an unimpressive also-ran, the 406 Super Tourer is certainly a car worth remembering...

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