The new Peugeot 9×8 is finally here. The brand of the Lion has unveiled the revolutionary beast they will use for their comeback at the 2022 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Their mission is to continue the brand’s successful history at the legendary French race, where they took the glory in 1992 and 1993 with their 905 Evo 1B model as well as in 2009 with the 908 HDi.
Leading the project is Jean-Marc Finot, who is not only head of the ‘Sport’ side of Peugeot but also commands the Stellantis group.
— Peugeot Sport (@peugeotsport) June 22, 2021
The new hypercar monicker starts with a number 9 in homage to those old winning models, followed by an X representing the hybrid all-wheel-drive powertrain, and a number 8, which is the suffix of all of their current urban vehicles.
The spirit of the Peugeot 9X8, as it sets off to conquer the circuits of the WEC, is intended to capture the symbiosis between the brands’ glorious past and its present, all of it infused with the most advanced technology.
— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) July 6, 2021
No rear wing… aggressive look
But besides the naming of the car, always as complex as the prodigious minds of the engineers that design it, there is one unusual and revolutionary detail of the Peugeot 9X8 that has centred all of the attention: It doesn’t have a rear wing.
Instead, there is a minuscule appendix integrated into the livery. Before anyone asks car designers have added a very bold and humorous inscription on the tiny back spoiler that reads: “We need no rear wing.”
Also noteworthy at first glance are the vehicle’s muscular and flashy rear fenders, featuring an additional set of fins that are in charge of channelling the airflow and optimize the car’s aerodynamics.
The rear fin also descends deeper into the rear decklid compared to modern LMP1 racers, giving the overall look of the car a more aggressive appearance.
As for the hybrid heart of the best, it features a twin-turbocharged 2.6-litre V6, inherited from the four-cylinder Citroën WRC, which is in charge of powering the rear wheels via a seven-speed sequential transmission, generating near 300kW or 400hp.
Meanwhile, the front axle has a 200 kW (approx. 272hp) electric motor, which in total adds up to 680hp, raising to 700 at the energy recovery periods at the end of a straight.
The design of the electric motor has relied heavily on the experience of the Formula E PSA Group. Particularly as it relates to the 900V high-density battery pack, located to the right of the driver.
— WEC (@FIAWEC) July 6, 2021
According to the specialist media, the Peugeot 9X8 will be starting its testing programme shortly. Peugeot, in fact, is already planning its competitive debut at the new endurance top class: Le Mans Hypercar.
But before the time comes to measure itself up against its rivals on the track, the Peugeot 9X8 will have to successfully complete an intense testing calendar. Only then it will be ready for its big break at next season’s WEC.
Peugeot is aware that they will have to make an extra effort in order to compensate for Toyota’s experience. The Japanese maker is taking part in the new LMh class of the WEC this season and has remained in the competition since Peugeot left. By the way, Porsche will be returning to Le Mans in 2023.
Finally, the line-up of official drivers at the wheel of the Peugeot 9X8 will consist of Jean-Éric Vergne, Paul di Resta, Kevin Magnussen, Loïc Duval and Gustavo Menezes.
Images of Peugeot 9X8: Peugeot Sport.