The New Peugeot Unveiled

As the dust settles and the lights fade along the Champs-Élysées from the Peugeot Sport launch yesterday, we take a look at what the French manufacturer has revealed.

Peugeot Sport confirmed that their focus for 2011 will once again be on its official endurance racing programme. After some good results in 2010, including claiming the inaugural Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), Peugeot confirmed their intention to retain their title, and ultimately to overcome their disappointing failures at last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Audi’s 1-2-3 at Le Mans 2010 was not a popular topic for discussion in Paris.

Early photographs of the new car were accompanied by the name “Project Peugeot 90X”. So it was slightly underwhelming when Peugeot’s Director of Marketing & Communications (Xavier Peugeot) revealed that the new car is now to be known as the 908. “The 908 HDi FAP helped us to build an enviable record of success, including the 2007 Le Mans Series, a 1-2 finish at Le Mans in 2009 and the ILMC last year. We have chosen the 908 as the name for the new car in order to build on that wave of success. It was the obvious choice.”

So we have the same name, and the car looks very similar, so perhaps there are other major revelations The new 908 is the third car to have been developed by Peugeot Sport specifically for endurance racing (the 905 & the previous 908 being the others) and the new car has had to comply with the new technical regulations prescribed by the ACO. Most notably the addition of the “shark fin” over the engine cover gives the car a different look, but under the bonnet Peugeot are staying with diesel power; to be specific; a 550 horsepower, 3.7 litre, V8 HDi FAP diesel engine.

Peugeot Sport’s Technical Director has been quick to point out that this is actually a completely new car. “The experience we have gained over the past 4 years helped the decision making process and our technical choices, although I can say that the only component carried over from the previous 908 is the windscreen wiper.”

The 3 crews for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours haven’t changed. Peugeot are convinced that they have a world class driver line up that can win at Le Mans. The number 7 car will have Wurz, Davidson and Gené behind the wheel. The number 8 car will be piloted by Montagny, Minassian and Sarrazin, whilst the number 9 car will again feature Bourdais, Lamy and Pagenaud.

So there we have it. The more you look, the less you think has changed, but let’s now all move on to Sebring, Florida to the first round of the ILMC where the new Peugeot 908 will make its competitive debut.