That Time Peugeot Entered a Van into the 24 Hours of Spa

Peugeot 806 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps 1995.png
Image credit: Aguttes

The world of motorsport is full of exciting vehicles, but throughout its history, rather odd creations can be found as well - and the Peugeot 806 Procar is one of the most noticeable: A year after Volvo debuted its 850 as an estate in BTCC, Kronos Racing decided to field an actual racing van in the 1995 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

Whether or not the racing Peugeot van was inspired by the Renault Espace featuring a V10 Formula One engine that was shown in 1994 is not clear - the French van built by Williams F1 and Matra was only ever used for demo runs, though, so it never saw use in competition. Even earlier than that, Ford had been creating its Transit Supervan, first using a chassis of a Ford GT40, then of the C100 Group C race car. 1994 saw the launch of the Supervan 3 - much like the Espace, though, it never raced, but only appeared for promotional purposes.

Peugeot 806 1995 Spa 24 Hours Kronos Racing.jpg

Possibly the oddest entry to the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps of all time: The Peugeot 806 Procar. Image credit: Kronos Racing

A Super Touring Van​

Kronos, however, meant serious business: Instead of pushing things to the extreme with an F1-based engine and powertrain, the Belgian team decided to modify an 806 to comply to the rules of the Belgian Procar championship, which used Super Touring regulations at the time. The result was a somewhat aggressively-stanced people carrier featuring a 280 bhp inline-4 engine, probably the biggest roll cage ever welded into a race car, and a whole lot of empty space where the passenger seats would have been. The van used suspension components of the 405 Mi 16 Class II touring car from 1993.

The idea was to promote the then-new 806 by entering it into the 1995 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Using 86 as its racing number, the van was piloted by the Belgian trio of Éric Bachelart, Philip Verellen and Pascal Witmeur, who put the Peugeot in a respectable 12th position on the grid (and 3rd in class) - proving wrong the long line of doubters who had even wanted the car to be banned on safety grounds due to its high center of gravity.

Peugeot 806 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps 1995 Interior.png

Tall silhouette, lots of empty space: The 806 was unlike anything else on the grid. Image credit: Aguttes

Its tall silhouette certainly stuck out like a sore thumb among the touring car grid of the time - which led to quite comical images of a BMW 320i being dwarfed by the front-wheel drive people carrier when lapping it or looking a bit out of place at the start of the race, towering over the competition.


No Luck in the Race​

Unfortunately for Kronos, the 806's remarkable showing in qualifying did not translate to the race: Shortly after the start, the first mechanical issues would surface, and despite somehow chugging along to almost reach the 10-hour mark, the series of malfunctions meant the end of the race for what had to be one of the oddest race cars ever built in its only start.

Although Kronos would later be known mostly for its successes in the World Rally Championship, the team's luck would increase over the next few years after 1995's attempt with the 806: Entered as Peugeot Team Belgique Luxembourg, Kronos would win both the 1999 and 2000 editions of the 24 Hours of Spa - albeit racing a much more conventional 306 GTi in both instances.

Despite the countless mods in sim racing, the 806 Procar does not seem to have been recreated for any racing simulation thus far - at least our research did not yield any results. However, should you have some spare change burning a hole in your pocket, the original vehicle is currently up for auction, starting at 50.000€ - you might even be able to fit a sim racing rig into the back of the van. The only thing needed to drive a race car inside a race car would be a virtual 806, then.

Your Thoughts​

Have you heard of the 806 Procar before? Would you like to see more of these oddball cars even today? Let us know in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Premium
I remember the 1995 race! In fact, the 806 makes it hard to forget the 1995 race, lol!
I'd love to see this car as a mod for AC so i'll be a bit closer to put together a 1995 Spa Francorchamps starting grid.
 
I'm reminded of one of the old Colin McCrae rally games where one of the special vehicles you could get was the "Team Van". I set some of my best times with it, lol.
 

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