Peugeot lift the covers on their first Le Mans racer in a decade
The French marque will compete in the FIA WEC Hypercar class in 2022.
Peugeot Sport have revealed the 9X8, their first Le Mans racer in a decade, and their first to utilise a hybrid power unit.
Revealed today to the press in an online event, the new Hypercar is slated to make its debut in race competition in 2022.
The design of the 9X8 will certainly turn heads, particularly the lack of rear wing. The Hypercar instead places a greater emphasis on ground-effect systems that use the floor of the car to generate downforce.
The rear axle is powered by a 7-speed, 2.6L bi-turbo V6 that produces up to 500kW (680HP), whilst a single-speed, 200kW electric MGU delivers drive to the front.
At speeds up to 120km/h, the car relies solely on combustion power, but between that threshold and a suggested 350km/h the power usage is balanced across both electric and fuel systems in accordance to FIA regulations.
Peugeot revealed the technical layout of the 9X8 in December last year, releasing this short video that gives a run through of how hybrid and ICE power is deployed during racing.
Two cars will compete in the full WEC season in 2022, with a stellar driver roster consisting of Le Mans winners, WEC race winners, and world champions in other formula.
Ex-F1 and 2020 Le Mans LMP2 class-winner Paul Di Resta, WEC LMP1 race-winner Gustavo Menezes, two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne, ex-F1 and now IMSA race-winner Kevin Magnussen, LMP2 star Mikkel Jensen, and 2013 Le Mans overall-winner and WEC champion Loïc Duval are signed to race seats, with former Super GT racer James Rossiter fulfilling a test and reserve role.
Le Mans success runs deep through the Peugeot Sport team, with three 24h Le Mans victories to boast. As the Group C era drew to a close, Peugeot would claim their first two victories back-to-back in 1992 and 1993 with the stunning V10-powered 905 1B Evo. The latter victory saw the french marque take a clean sweep of the podium.
En route to victory, covered in the trials of the 24h Le Mans. Image: Martin Lee
Over a decade later and in an entirely different era of top-flight prototype racing they would return to the podium, claiming second place in 2007 with the diesel 908 HDi FAP LMP1.
In 2009 the third and final victory, to date, was claimed by David Brabham, Marc Gené, and Alexander Wurz in an epic head-to-head battle with Audi's R15 TDI. The trio would also score the Peugeot's final podium at La Sarthe, with no rostrum appearance from a 908 squad for the next two years.
The start of the 2009 24h Le Mans. Image: XPB Images
A decade after their third Le Mans win, the French marque announced their intentions to return to the most iconic endurance race in the world back in late 2019. Shortly after, however, the programme faced problems as partner Rebellion Racing opted to leave the WEC at the end of the 2020 season.
Surprisingly Peugeot have never raced in the WEC era of world sportscar competition, pulling their 908 Hybrid project just weeks before the inaugural race in Sebring, 2012, and despite winning the precursor Intercontinental Le Mans Cup the previous two years.
A decade later 'The Lion' will make its full debut in the series, becoming only the second major automotive manufacturer to join the Hypercar class after Toyota, with privateer Glickenhaus making their first appearance in the category at the 8H Portimão in May.