On July 10, 2022, Team Peugeot TotalEnergies’ two PEUGEOT 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar prototypes will make their official racing debut at Monza, Italy, in the fourth round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). Building upon the success of its previous programmes with the 905 (1990>1993, powered by a V10 petrol engine) and 908 (2007>2011, powered by an HDI FAP diesel V12), PEUGEOT is making its grand return to endurance racing with a hybrid-powered car that embodies its electrification strategy. The whole team is looking forward to learning as much as possible from this first competitive outing.
A LEGENDARY CIRCUIT TO MARK THE START OF A NEW CHAPTER
Italy’s famous Temple of Speed is where it all began for the PEUGEOT 908 back in April 2007, with a victorious debut in the headlining LMP1 category at the 1,000km of Monza. A decade-and-a-half on, the iconic track will similarly provide the backdrop to the PEUGEOT 9X8’s racing bow, in the Le Mans Hypercar class of the 6 Hours of Monza on July 10, 2022.
Over the past six months, Team Peugeot TotalEnergies has conducted an intense programme of tests at a variety of circuits across Europe in preparation for this first competitive appearance. In recent weeks, the team has been meticulously refining its road map. This has been split into two core phases: the first took the form of simulator sessions at PEUGEOT’s Satory base, near Paris, enabling the team to evaluate and finalise its energy-management mapping for Monza as the drivers got to grips – virtually – with the circuit’s unique characteristics and demands. This was followed by one final physical track test at MotorLand Aragón in Spain, where the 9X8 clocked up its 15,000th kilometre of running, thereby achieving Team Peugeot TotalEnergies’ pre-Monza target.
In the course of this test, an intensive 36-hour endurance run was completed, putting the team’s two race crews (drivers, engineers and mechanics) through their paces while fixing the race processes firmly in the minds of the women and men responsible for managing the two PEUGEOT 9X8s which will compete with the numbers #93 and #94.
Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen and Jean-Eric Vergne will team up in the #93 entry, engineered by Gauthier Bouteiller.
The #94, meanwhile, brings together James Rossiter, Gustavo Menezes and Loïc Duval, with Brice Gaillardon fulfilling the role of race engineer.
A SPORTING AND GROUP CHALLENGE
Peugeot Sport is ready to write a new chapter in its illustrious endurance racing story, following the previous successes of the 905 and 908.
While the ultimate objective remains the same – victory – this sporting programme is like none ever tackled before as it draws upon the most innovative working practices and tools in the brand’s history, representing a significant technological challenge and underscoring PEUGEOT’s commitment to energy transition.
In the space of barely a year-and-a-half, a new car – the PEUGEOT 9X8 – and race team have been assembled at the same time as an exacting programme of preparation and rehearsals both at race tracks and in the workshop. Now, they are ready to see how they stack up in a competitive environment, up against other prototypes and other teams boasting more experience in the discipline.
It is now time for the testing and simulation work to make way for the real thing. The races are set to come thick and fast for a team that has been increasingly bolstered in recent months, with every single member of Team Peugeot TotalEnergies eager to either discover or rediscover the adrenaline of competition. These races will allow the team to gather a great deal of vital information which, in turn, will play a key role in the ongoing development of the PEUGEOT 9X8 and the quest for performance and efficiency in readiness for the team’s longer-term goal of the 2023 season and its participation in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Olivier Jansonnie (Technical Director, Peugeot Sport): “Following an extensive and necessary period of testing and development, covering thousands of kilometres at a number of different circuits, the PEUGEOT 9X8, its drivers and the team are now ready to take on the next challenge: managing the exacting requirements and demands of a full race weekend in direct competition with our rivals, while learning about the behaviour of our car in traffic and how to handle the different safety procedures. Our strategy for Monza is very simple: to give the best of ourselves at all times, with a humble yet confident approach. Our objective is clear – to learn as much as possible about every aspect of the 9X8 in a competitive environment. It goes without saying that we are keen to see how we compare with the other teams and cars, but above all we are looking forward to gathering the kind of data and information that can only be gleaned by going racing.”
Excellence, Allure and Emotion: PEUGEOT’s three core values are the cornerstones of the PEUGEOT 9X8 and the brand’s endurance racing programme. Beginning at Monza on July 10, the PEUGEOT 9X8 will be a standard-bearer for the manufacturer’s electrification strategy as it showcases not only PEUGEOT’s expertise in this domain but also its commitment to introducing new electric technology across its road-car range.
THE 6 HOURS OF MONZA IN BRIEF
Round 4 of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship (after Sebring, Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans)
5.793km / 11 turns
July 8: Free Practice 1, 15:30 CET
July 9: Free Practice 2, 09:00 CET; Free Practice 3, 13:00 CET; Qualifying, 17:30 CET and 17:50 CET.
July 10: Track Parade (featuring the new PEUGEOT 408) at 11:45 CET, Race Start at 12:00 CET.
THE 9X8 IN BRIEF
100% PEUGEOT: A Hypercar developed entirely by Peugeot
A hybrid-electric Hypercar, four wheel-drive, equipped with a hybrid power unit (2.6-litre, bi-turbo, 500kW, V6 internal-combustion engine and two electric motors on the front axle delivering 200kW) and a high-voltage battery (900V)
A unique and distinctive look: no rear wing, and PEUGEOT Design’s hallmark three-claw lighting signature
Jean Marc Finot (Director, Stellantis Motorsport): “The PEUGEOT 9X8’s competitive debut marks the culmination of the first stage of our mission. We have built a team and an LMH Hypercar based entirely upon Team PEUGEOT TotalEnergies’ cutting-edge technology and expertise, in order to tackle both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Monza represents the beginning of a new era in endurance racing for Peugeot Sport and our objective is to fight for victories while demonstrating the excellence of PEUGEOT’s electrification technology. In Italy this weekend, we will be taking on a field of competitors who have extensive experience in the category, so we remain realistic about the challenge we face, but we are driven by real determination, enthusiasm and ambition!”
Paul Di Resta
“I think the biggest thing I appreciate is the amount of work that is going on in the factory, with every individual involved in this program. Over the next two weeks, they will probably feel the most pressure they’ve had in quite a few years to make this happen. I don’t think we can underestimate the challenge of what lies ahead but at some point you’ve got to go and race and see where you stand. It’s exciting times, and I would say that our preparations have gone well in the last month. Ultimately, though, it’s only when you get racing against competitors that your weakness may appear.
“I am going in with a very open mind. I think the most important things are to evaluate our level of performance and how we all work together as a team. It’s just massively exciting seeing a car arrive for a proper race week-end on a track.”
“It’s been a long build-up: a year and a half of hard work and preparations already, and now finally we get to race. It’s our first race, so we’re there to learn as much as possible. Our objectives in terms of position at the end of the race are difficult to set as we have yet to see how we compare with our rivals. We don’t know what to expect; we just know that we have to do our best, in terms of learning about our car, strategy, pit stops and our approach. Put everything together, learn and then improve on all aspects.
“Whenever PEUGEOT has been involved in endurance racing, it was with the clear goal to win. As for me, with my projects, it’s always been flat out. Yes, flat out or nothing. Full effort! It feels the same this time so I can’t wait to be back racing with PEUGEOT.”
“I love Monza. I’ve raced there quite a lot, and it truly lives up to its Temple of Speed nickname. It’s a fantastic circuit and a great place to begin our WEC adventure with the new PEUGEOT 9X8. We will go there in a humble frame of mind, with the aim of performing to the best of our capabilities and continuing all the good work that has been carried out so far. Race-by-race, we will ramp up the rhythm and push increasingly hard. Peugeot Sport is an iconic team with a rich history of success in international endurance racing. Our ultimate goal is to equal if not surpass PEUGEOT’s previous achievements at Le Mans. I am hugely excited to be a part of this new chapter, and particularly thrilled to see the great passion shown by fans for our return to competition.”
“As a team, we have worked tirelessly to develop and prepare this car for racing, and the most recent test – a full-scale endurance simulation at Aragón – was particularly intense. On a personal level, my aim is to do my job as well as possible, perform to the best of my ability and avoid making any mistakes. For us, Monza is very much a learning weekend. We are only just beginning to work together as a team in race mode, both from a driving crew perspective and in terms of the engineers, mechanics and whole Peugeot Sport operation. Following the journey we have all travelled together this far, to finally be going racing is immensely motivating for us all.
“Like the rest of the team, I’m excited and eager to get going. It’s been a while now since we announced we would be returning to competition, and I’m looking forward to heading back into battle in my natural environment – out on the race track!”
“It’s obviously been a long wait for the fans just as it has been for us to get this exciting programme to its official start. We’ve been working very hard as a team on every aspect over the last year, from reliability and performance, to team-building amongst the drivers and engineering staff. It has really slowly built up to a point that we’re confident to get on track and perform at the level we know we need to be at to bring home results and success.”
“It's time to race and we come to Monza obviously really humble. It is a first race, it’s never easy to arrive in a championship with expectations that are too high. The goal is simple. It’s to try to win everything we are competing in, but for the first race it is to make the fewest mistakes possible, have a clean race reliability-wise and drive as wisely as possible…. And we’ll see where we come out at the end of the week-end.”
“Monza is a circuit that holds a special place in my heart: it’s one of those circuits that I got to drive in Formula 1. I love its classic layout, the raw speed that Monza has to offer, and I think it’s going to be an incredible place for my first race in the 9X8.
“Personally, my objectives are to have a clean race week-end, to go through all the processes with the team and to make sure that we continue to improve. We want to show the WEC, the world and all our fans exactly how hard we’ve been working on the 9X8 and on the project to go and conquer Le Mans in 2023.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be part of PEUGEOT’s return to endurance racing after so many years away. I think that everyone is going to be amazed first of all by the beauty of the PEUGEOT 9X8 and, of course, by its speed.”