1992, 1993, 2009: Three years when the Peugeot 905 and Peugeot 908 respectively waved the Lion flag at the Le Mans Tower. Then in 2011, the song and dance ended, the hybrid race car planned for 2012 no longer worked, and the French brand was forced to roll out its long-range racing program.
Now, however, here they are again, in the newly introduced Hypercar class, which allows for innovative and creative engineering solutions thanks to its more flexible constraints on aerodynamics.
This immediately inventive idea is that the car (5000 x 2080 x 1180 mm; wheelbase 3045 mm) does not have a rear spoiler: Peugeot engineers claim that they have been able to achieve sufficient downforce without it, but are still unwilling to reveal the secret.
The name 9X8 is also iconic, the first and last members of it refer to the 908, and X suggests that (a) the car is all-wheel drive, (b) the car crosses internal combustion engine technology with a Hungarian electric hybrid. This is important because Peugeot will electrify all of its cars by 2025, so there will be a connection between street and racing models.
There’s also a visual link between the two zones: the racing car’s front and rear position indicators and the gray and yellow color scheme can be traced back to street models and the first member of the Peugeot Sport Engineered family, the 509 PSE.
A bold experiment is taking place in the cabin: Instead of a purely functional cockpit, the designers dreamed of a colorful and patterned driving environment.
As for the powertrain, the twin-turbo 2.6-liter V6 petrol engine drives the rear wheels with the 680 hp permitted by regulations, while the front axle is powered by a 272 hp electric motor/generator – or installed because the electric component, incl. This includes a high-voltage battery (900 volts) in the final stages of development as well as a seven-speed sequential transmission. We know from the past that a race car’s power must not exceed 500 kW (680 hp) at any point during the race, so engineers have serious reserves in using the electric motor.
The Peugeot Sport will debut in the 2022 FIA World Championship with the new 9X8, with two cars at a time.