Peugeot has pulled the covers off its new 9X8 Hypercar, an endurance racing car that will lead the French brand’s re-entry into the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2022, including the Le Mans 24 Hours. The race car serves as a direct successor to the Peugeot 905 that won at Le Mans in 1992 and 1993.
Look towards the back of the new race car and you’ll see a glaring omission – the Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar doesn’t have a rear wing. In fact look close enough and you’ll also see a cheeky message above the diffuser, stating: “We didn’t want a rear wing”. Stellantis Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot described the wing’s absence as a major innovative step, although he refuses to elaborate on exactly how Peugeot is compensating for it. “We have achieved a degree of aerodynamic efficiency that allows us to do away with this feature,” Finot bragged. “Don’t ask how, though! We have every intention of keeping that a secret as long as we possibly can!”
According to Peugeot, the greater flexibility allowed by the WEC’s new aerodynamic rules, allows new thinking that favours the emergence of innovative cars that break away from the norm.
Powering the Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar is a 500 kW hybrid drivetrain that pairs a rear-mounted 2,6-litre twin-turbo 90-degree V6 engine with a front-mounted 200 kW motor-generator unit, which is fed by a 900 volt high-density battery.
“There’s more to Peugeot’s involvement in endurance racing than the sporting aspect,” said Peugeot CEO Linda Jackson, whom CAR recently had the privilege of interviewing. “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.
“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.”