Peugeot has announced its new 9X8 Le Mans driver, ready to face the World Endurance Championship in 2022.
Competitor in the Hypercar category, the 9X8 will use a hybrid powertrain and feature radical design cues.
This will see Peugeot take on Toyota at Le Mans in 2022, while Ferrari is expected to build a car that complies with Le Mans Hypercar rules for 2023.
Aston Martin has canceled plans for its own Valkyrie-based competitor.
A real road racer
The new Le Mans Hypercar category was created to attract more manufacturers to endurance racing. Spiraling costs had previously prompted Audi and Porsche to withdraw from the World Endurance Championship.
In addition to specialized prototypes, manufacturers can also enter cars based on road models. This requires the manufacture of 20 legal cars.
This should allow manufacturers to make the link between road cars and racing cars more tangible. Peugeot itself notes that the 9X8 has “stylistic excellence, efficiency and technological expertise” that can be transferred to its road cars.
Part of the Peugeot family
The three “scratches”, forming the LED lights on the front and rear of the 9X8, are an obvious nod to current Peugeot products. The Selenium Gray paint, associated with Kryptonite Green reflections, is similar to that of the new Peugeot 508 PSE models.
The choice to call the new Le Mans Hypercar 9X8 ties it to Peugeot models past and present.
Previous Peugeot Le Mans racers have used a “9” mark, while the “X” refers to the all-wheel-drive hybrid powertrain. Finally, the “8” refers to current Peugeot cars such as the 3008 and 508.
The interiors of racing cars are generally Spartan matters. But, Peugeot made extensive use of Kryptonite Green inside the 9X8. This should certainly help keep the drivers awake on these long stints at Le Mans…
Don’t wing it anymore
Peugeot has chosen to do without a rear spoiler, typical of endurance prototypes. Instead, Stellantis Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot says the 9X8 has “a degree of aerodynamic efficiency” that allows it to operate without wings.
Hybrid powertrains are optional in the Hypercar class, but Peugeot opted to use one. A 680bhp 2.6-liter twin-turbo V6 will power the rear wheels, with a 200kW electric motor driving the front axle.
We’ll have to wait until next year to see if the 9X8 can deliver on track and continue Peugeot’s previous success at Le Mans.
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