Peugeot will compete in the remaining three rounds of the 2022 WEC season in the premier Hypercar division, starting with the Six Hours of Monza from July 8-10, marking a return to the top of sportscar racing for the first time. for over a decade.
Not only has the French manufacturer built two new hybrid cars built to LMH rules, dubbed 9X8, but it also manages the operational side of the team, with the entire project taking place in-house.
Peugeot initially wanted to use the services of an established team and announced a tie-up with multiple LMP1 winning team Rebellion Racing for its Hypercar program in 2019, but the partnership was called off shortly after the Swiss company decided to quit motorsport.
Peugeot technical director Olivier Jansonnie explained that to tackle the WEC, the French manufacturer had to put together a completely new team, partly made up of personnel from other departments of the Stellantis group, considerably increasing the scale of the challenge he faces. faces on his racing debut.
“We are in a phase where we are developing the car, but we are also developing the team,” Jansonnie told the French edition of Motorsport.com. “So part of our preparation from here to Monza is also getting ready to race.
“It took two years of preparation. We already had the base of Stellantis Motorsport teams who were involved in our previous projects, and we still have a lot of people involved in other projects at the moment, including [DS Techeetah in] Formula E.
“In operational terms in particular, this has been done by teams that have been transferred from other programs in which we were previously involved at the group level, and which we have supplemented with people who have arrived.
“Most of these people have experience of endurance racing and that kind of racing, so they are not new to the discipline, fortunately.
“We are not starting from zero individually, but collectively we are starting from zero. Individually, we have people who know how to do it, but we’ve never really done it together.
Photo by: Peugeot Sport
Peugeot have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times over the years, most recently in 2009, when they won a dominant 1-2 against powerhouse Audi.
For its return to top-level endurance racing, Peugeot will face Toyota, which has won all but one race so far since the start of the Hypercar class in 2021, the non-hybrid Glickenhaus 007 LMH and the Alpine A480. LMP1. .
While expectations are high from Peugeot despite being a newcomer to the WEC, Jansonnie says it’s hard to predict how the 9X8 will fare against its rivals at Monza until until the performance balance of the race is finalized.
“Honestly, it’s very hard to say [how we will perform]because our BoP parameter for Monza is not known today,” he explained.
“We can extrapolate it compared to our competitors because there is an extremely transparent system and we know how we are going to position ourselves compared to them, but we don’t know our BoP configuration.
“And in fact, today the range is wide, from 1030 kg to 1080 kg, there is a 50 kg difference, and 40 kW is almost 70 hp: it’s huge. Depending on where you are in that range, it’s very complicated.
“It’s impossible to make references to where we’ve driven and where others have driven in different conditions. Yes, we know we’re not within five seconds of the times [within the BoP range]. We’ll see in Monza!
Watch the WEC 6 Hours of Monza live on Motorsport.tv (geo-restrictions may apply).