Updated: Jan 27
Written by Evan Veer, Edited by Harshi Vashee
The hotly anticipated Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar finally hit the track for its first test in preparation for this year’s World Endurance Championship season, and so it’s time to take a closer look at this exciting new challenger in the endurance racing scene!
The most notable characteristic of the car is the part that’s not actually there: the rear wing.
Peugeot have made a conscious decision to exclude the wing from their design to make a unique and unconventional prototype which really separates this car from the competition and shows off their ability to pull off a radically different concept and make it work.
The reason Peugeot should be able to be competitive without the help of a rear wing primarily comes down to the fact that the new Hypercar class uses Balance of Performance to make sure all cars will be around the same performance window, and it seems Peugeot are confident they can get within this window with their radical wingless design.
The most recent version of the car had two new winglets added above the rear wheels, somewhat similar to something you would see on a Ferrari FXX or Formula E car. These flaps generate some downforce and boost the effect of the diffuser while also making the rear downforce levels far easier to adjust compared to only having the diffuser.
Meanwhile some changes around the front wheel arches mean Peugeot will have to find a new place for the rear view mirrors (or camera) as their previous mirror position likely wouldn’t be able to be mounted on the current design.
The 9X8’s rear axle is powered by a 2.6 litre twin-turbo V6 which provides about 670 brake horsepower and has a seven speed gearbox while the front axle uses electric motors with a 900 volt battery adding another 200Kw or 270 brake horsepower.
One of the car’s notable feature includes the lights in Peugeot’s own “lion claw” design, and the rear lights are especially unique as they use three seperate panels fitted with lights sticking out of the back on each side, and the car has many other cool parts like its triangular shaped roof scoop, dubbed ‘mohawk’ by and the peugeot badge at the front which is lit up as well.
Although the two Peugeot Sport cars are on the World Endurance Championship’s full season entry list there is some doubt about how soon the 9X8 will actually be ready to race. Peugeot has already confirmed they will not be racing at the season opener at Sebring Raceway, and the WEC boss has recently said that the car must race at at least one previous event if it wants to participate in the Le Mans 24 hours, meaning Peugeot absolutely has to be ready for the Spa round in May in order to not miss out on the most prestigious endurance race of the year.
It’s important for Peugeot not to rush development too much though, as the LMH prototypes will have to be homologated for five years with only minor changes allowed meaning any major design flaws would keep haunting them for the tears to come.
Despite all this it seems likely Peugeot will be ready to race at Spa and maybe even challenge the almighty Toyotas at Le Mans.