Peugeot 9X8 revealed in race trim ahead of Monza debut
The Peugeot 9X8, the latest car to join the Le Mans hypercar ranks, will make its debut at the 6 Hours of Monza on 10th July. The car’s debut had been delayed earlier this year to miss the start of the season and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Two cars will race at the debut race at Monza, and then continue at all the remaining rounds of the World Endurance Championship in 2022 – at Fuji in Japan and Sakhir in Bahrain. Peugeot Sport also confirmed that it will compete in the whole of the 2023 WEC championship, meaning it will make its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year alongside the return of Ferrari.
The news means that the number of Hypercars racing in the WEC should climb to six for the first time. The two cars from Peugeot will join a pair of Toyota GR010s a single grandfathered LMP1 car from Alpine and an expected single car from US-based Glickenhaus. The previous high point for the new class was five cars at Le Mans in 2021.
Peugeot’s entry to the championship was delayed earlier this year when Peugeot announced it wanted to make sure its car was right before it raced. The rules in the World Endurance Championship mean that each car and its aero package have to be homologated with only a certain amount of “joker” upgrades allowed through the rules cycle.
While Peugeot has not announced who will drive each car, it confirmed that its six drivers will be Paul Di Resta, Loic Duval, Mikkel Jensen, Gustavo Menezes, James Rossiter and Jean-Eric Vergne. This represents the full makeup of Peugeot’s LMH driver lineup. The initial crew had been seven drivers, with one expected to remain as a development driver. The seventh driver, Kevin Magnussen, was released by the team in order to race with Haas in F1 in 2022.
In images released to go with the announcement, the final racing version of the 9X8 was revealed. While testing pictures showed that the car had been evaluated using a rear wing, the final design does stick to the original principle of discarding the rear spoiler. However, a pair of small winglets have now been added behind the rear wheels.
A new colour-scheme was also revealed, with the car now in a much lighter shade of grey as well as black and flourescent yellow. It also has noticeably more sculpted aerodynamics around its front and sides.
Peugeot also said in its announcement that the car is due to race with 100 per cent renewable fuel from Total and weighs just 1,030kg. It has now completed over 10,000km of testing over 25 separate days.
Speaking of the news, Linda Jackson, Peugeot CEO, said: “Peugeot’s participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship is further evidence of the brand’s ingenuity and longstanding passion for motorsport. It will also play a role in the essential transfer of technology from the race track to our road-going vehicles, particularly in the field of electrification. “
Olivier Jansonnie, Technical Director of Peugeot Sport added: "In presenting our new race car today, we are keeping the promise that we made last summer.
The Peugeot 9X8 is effectively the physical embodiment of the concept we revealed back in July 2021. The challenge we have faced in recent months has been two-fold and has involved forming a team to then produce a car and prepare it for its competitive debut.
With only weeks to go until its maiden competitive outing at Monza, the Peugeot 9X8 has been clocking up the kilometres in testing at a variety of circuits. At the end of the day, however, there is no substitute for actual racing and we can’t wait to discover the potential of our hybrid-electric Hypercar which was developed in-house to demonstrate our skills in the realm of hybridisation and other areas.”