On May 30, 1916, Dario Resta, a British driver of Italian origin, drove his Peugeot L45 to victory at the Indianapolis 500 race, maintaining an average speed of 135kph. A century later, the French carmaker has come out with a tribute to this win, as well as the two others in 1913 and 1919 by the brand’s band of fearless drivers known as the “Charlatans’, which included Georges Boillot, Jules Goux and Paolo Zuccarelli. Called the L500 R Hybrid, the concept racer is “a futuristic interpretation of the Indy spirit,” says Peugeot.

“With Peugeot L500 R Hybrid we're paying tribute to Peugeot racing exploits dating to the early 20th century. Inspired by this spirit of performance and innovation we wanted to convey a sculptural, elegant and technological view of the future of Peugeot motor sport”, says Matthias Hossann, Peugeot's concept car and technological advance chief.

Developed by the team at Peugeot Sport, the racer is powered by a plug-in hybrid petrol powertrain, comprising an electric motor each at the front and rear along with a 270bhp petrol engine, resulting in a total system output of 500bhp and 730Nm of torque. With a wide track, and a low stance, the L500 R takes just 2.5 seconds to reach 100kph and does the kilometre sprint in just 19 seconds.

The futuristic styling of the exterior is well complemented by the hi-tech cabin, which places the driver behind a particularly small steering wheel in a capsule that floats within the bodywork. All the important information is shown holographically in dual disc displays. The designers have also reinterpreted the original L45’s two-seat architecture into a single seater with a virtual co-pilot and a virtual reality headset.