Tag Archives: Le Mans Hypercar

Peugeot Unveils Its 9X8 Hypercar

The rumours were true, Peugeot Sport has not just opted to join the FIA World Endurance Championship with a standard Le mans Hypercar, it’s gone radical too!

The brand new hybrid, twin-turbo V6-powered 9X8, launched today, is set to stun fans around the world. It features plenty of nods and styling cues to the Peugeot brand, and a radical aerodynamic design that features no rear wing and a rear-diffuser capable of producing the majority of the car’s downforce.

“The new Le Mans Hypercar regulations were drawn up to level out the importance of conventional performance-boosting systems,” explains Olivier Jansonnie, Peugeot Sport’s WEC Programme Technical Director.

“Designing the 9X8 has been a passionate experience because we had the freedom to invent, innovate and explore off-the-wall ways to optimise the car’s performance, and more especially its aerodynamics. The regulations stipulate that only one adjustable aerodynamic device is permitted, without specifying the rear wing. Our calculation work and simulations revealed that high performance was effectively possible without one.”

“The absence of a rear wing on the Peugeot 9X8 is a major innovative step,” adds Stellantis Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot. “We have achieved a degree of aerodynamic efficiency that allows us to do away with this feature. Don’t ask how, though! We have every intention of keeping that a secret as long as we possibly can!”

The drivers all appear to approve. Travel Destinations understands that the entire roster has played a part in helping develop both the simulator and the cockpit. Work has been ongoing for months, with drivers and members of the design team interacting and working hard in the build up to the testing phase.

“The 9X8’s lines are very different to those that have been unveiled or hinted at in recent months. It will be a historic moment if we succeed in winning with this car because nothing in this style has ever been attempted before,” said Mikkel Jensen.

Loic Duval added: “There are cars that you look at and say they’re nice from the three-quarters front view, say, or from the side, from the front or from the back. The 9X8 looks terrific from every angle!”

As for the car’s powertrain, the engine has been tested on the dyno, and TotalEnergies is understood to be in the thick of the planning stage surrounding the car’s batter. Parts for the car are already being manufactured and stress-tested too, with the car still on track to begin testing in December.

What does the 9X8 monikor refer too?  ‘9’ is a nod to Peugeot’s previous topflight sportscars, ‘X’ refers to its all-wheel-drive technology and hybrid powertrain and ‘8’, the suffixed used for all of Peugeot’s current models.

The theme of brand references and nods to the past can be found across the car. The 9X8’s front and rear lights take the form of ‘three claw-like strokes’, linked to Peugeot trademarks, while the brand’s new logo features in backlit form at the front and on the sides of the car. The colour scheme too, ‘Selenium Grey’ and contrasting ‘Kryptonite’ acid green/yellow mirrors the colours selected for the new 508 and 508 SW road cars.

“Since the 9X8 is a Peugeot, the original sketch that steered our work portrayed a big cat ready to pounce, a stance which we have suggested by the slightly forward-tilting cockpit”, said Design Director Mattias Hossann. “The overall lines of the Peugeot 9X8 express the brand’s styling cues, while its sleek, racy, elegant forms inspire emotion and dynamism.”

The Peugeot is set to make its race debut during the 2022 season, though Peugeot hasn’t confirmed to the full season with its pair of 9X8s just yet. Travel Destinations understands that the leaders of this effort and keen to ensure the car is fully ready before it takes on Toyota and Glickenhaus for the first time. Whether or not it will be seen at Sebring, Spa and Le Mans early in the year remains to be seen.

What is clear is that Peugeot still sees value in sportscar racing and Le Mans, and is incredibly excited to return to the front-end at Le Mans very soon.

“There’s more to Peugeot’s involvement in endurance racing than the sporting aspect,” said Peugeot CEO Linda Jackson. “Endurance racing is a form of motorsport that provides us with an extreme laboratory, which explains why our association with Le Mans is so strong. More significant perhaps than the results we obtain on the race track are the opportunities it provides to prove our technology and the fruit of our research work in a race that throws extreme conditions at you for 24 hours.

“Le Mans gives us a competitive environment to validate the hybrid systems and technologies we are currently developing to reduce the fuel consumption – and therefore CO2 emissions – of our road cars. The teams at Peugeot Sport are proud when they see their research carried over to our production models. For our customers, Le Mans is a laboratory that testifies to the quality of our cars.”

Stephen Kilbey

If you want to be trackside at Le Mans next year call us on 01707 329 988 today and book your space. Camping spaces, hotels and certain ticket types are already limited for 2022.

Images courtesy of Peugeot Sport

Ferrari Commits To Le Mans Hypercar, This Changes Everything…

Toyota, Glickenhaus, Peugeot, Alpine, Audi, Porsche, Acura… Just when you thought the flow of positive sportscar racing news was slowing down, Ferrari announces that it is committed to the Le Mans Hypercar category from 2023 onwards, as a full factory.

News of this magnitude doesn’t come around often, but when it does, it makes an impact not just on the championship in question, but in the industry as a whole. All eyes will be on Ferrari, the FIA WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours now. The Le Mans Hypercar formula can be lauded a true success already, as we can confidently say that it has more than enough committed manufacturers to make it viable in the short and medium term, and enough buzz to propel international sportscar racing into the mainstream.

“In over 70 years of racing, on tracks all over the world, we led our closed-wheel cars to victory by exploring cutting-edge technological solutions: innovations that arise from the track and make every road car produced in Maranello extraordinary,” said John Elkann, Ferrari President. “With the new Le Mans Hypercar programme, Ferrari once again asserts its sporting commitment and determination to be a protagonist in the major global motorsport events.”

So what do we know about Ferrari’s programme; its first in top class endurance racing since 1973? Well Travel Destinations believes that it’s a full-factory effort, rather than a semi-works or customer programme run by AF Corse, meaning it should get a huge amount of resources thrown at it. Ferrari has never pushed hard to market its successes in GTE competition over the years, even after class wins at Le Mans, but we should see a far more creative, public-facing approach now. And that will only benefit the FIA WEC and Le Mans 24 Hours in the long run.

As of yet there are no details about the car or who might drive it, but Travel Destinations understands that work has been going on behind the scenes for a while now, with members of the programme believed to be using another major manufacturers’ wind tunnel facility, privately, to complete early work on the project. As for drivers, there’s no confirmation yet, but prospective talent will certainly be circling to see what potential there is for drivers beyond its existing stable to join in. Multiple drivers were known by Travel Destinations to have been meeting with Ferrari as far back as Le Mans last year, so the race is on to secure a seat for what looks to be a landmark programme.

Perhaps the biggest news here will come from outside Ferrari’s castle walls, as its committal may prompt other manufacturers to also jump aboard. Will manufacturers such as Ford or McLaren; which are ‘rivals’ in motorsport with Ferrari, be able to resist? How about Renault, which to this point is only committed to the Hypercar category for 2021 with Alpine?

Toyota has already reacted to this news. “We warmly welcome Ferrari to the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and we are honoured to compete against them in Hypercar,” it said in a statement. “This is exciting news for endurance racing fans and for the WEC. We welcome the competition and look forward to being part of a very strong Hypercar grid.”

This may also prompt a decision from IMSA on the eligibility of Hypercars in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. To this point LMDh class cars have been accepted by the ACO to compete in the FIA WEC, but not the other way round. Could the allure of Ferrari prove to be the tipping point and ensure top class parity in both premier sportscar championships?

But even if nobody else comes to play, what we already have is far and away the strongest top class we’ve had in sportscar racing for decades. Just picture it: Audi, Porsche, Toyota, Peugeot, Ferrari, Glickenhaus and Honda (Acura) all lining up on the grid at Le Mans in two years time.

“Alongside Ferrari, in 2023, many manufacturers who have already joined us are sure to pull out all the stops to win the race in its centenary year,” ACO President Pierre Fillon said in reaction to the news. “This is excellent news for a discipline whose rule base forms a solid foundation on which to build a bright future.”

The 100th anniversary of the inaugural LeMans 24 Hours in 2023 is going to be a massive event, and you are going to want to be there.

Stephen Kilbey

If you do want to be there, then you can pre-register your interest for tickets and travel packages with Travel Destinations today by calling 01707 329988 or emailing info@traveldestinations.co.uk. We are also on sale for Le Mans 2022, so call or email us to book now.