Peugeot Sport is continuing its hard work to deliver a top-tier race car that is reliable and can outperform the intensely competitive field. FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) fans are excited for the new lineup of hypercars for the 2022 season. However, Peugeot Sport has announced that its new 9X8 hypercar will debut after this year’s 24 Hours of LeMans event. A disappointment for some fans, Peugeot has announced that it will build anticipation and excitement for the 9X8 at LeMans this year with a number of surprises for fans and spectators.
Every LeMans hypercar must be homologated in order to be permitted to race, after which its design may not be modified any further until 2025, except in very particular circumstances governed by strict conditions. Any such modifications will be counted as ‘EVO jokers’, which are limited to just five between 2021 and 2025.
For example, Toyota’s four-wheel-drive GR010 Hybrid will be changing its tire size for 2022, counting as one of the manufacturer’s five evolutions allowed on performance grounds. Manufacturers must apply for permission to make the evolutions to the FIA and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which write the rules. An EVO joker covers one area of the car as defined by the homologation form.
“Restricting development in this way is important since it would not be possible to adjust the performance of a car that is subject to constant technical updates through ‘Balance Of Performance’ (BoP) tweaks. The homologation process itself consists of a series of milestones. Its schedule and execution are very precisely defined. The process concludes with the submission of a homologation file – describing in minute detail all of the vehicle’s components (with photos and weight measurements) – as well as a wind tunnel test of its aerodynamics and an inspection of the vehicle by the FIA/ACO. After this, its development is ‘frozen’. Its performance parameters are subsequently assessed in order to be able to adjust its power, weight, and minimum speed of hybrid energy deployment, which are the key factors in Balance Of Performance,” stated Olivier Jansonnie, Technical Director of Peugeot’s WEC Program.
A manufacturer makes the judgment that their car is ready to be homologated, is when it believes it has met the required level of performance and reliability to be eligible for the ‘Balance Of Performance’ evaluation.
“Quite simply, this will afford us the time we need to achieve the necessary level of reliability. For obvious reasons with regard to Balance Of Performance adjustments, it would not have been possible to enter the 24 Hours of LeMans without first contesting the preceding WEC race – the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 7th. This way, our planning will enable us to put the full weight of our teams and resources behind our own test sessions, without the disruption of racing at Spa-Francorchamps and LeMans,” Jansonnie said.
“Both operationally and from a reliability perspective, LeMans is the most difficult race on the calendar. We will begin with some shorter races, which will allow us to progressively get up-to-speed in the championship. Like with our road-going cars when we have to choose between meeting a deadline or focusing on quality, we always prioritize quality,” he concluded.
Team Peugeot Sport TotalEnergies’ Peugeot 9X8 Hybrid hypercar will make its official racing debut in the WEC this summer, with two cars sporting race numbers 93 and 94.
Rumors have been swirling about the possibility of Dodge//SRT being to run its own 9X8 based program in North America. Thanks to a new rules package involving the Prototype class between ACO, WEC, and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) the sectioning body for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it would allow the Peugeot Sport engineered 9X8 to be run as a Dodge part- or full-time virtually unchanged.