PEUGEOT has taken the wraps off the new 9X8, its latest-generation Hypercar challenger which is poised to make its competitive debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) in 2022. Powered by a hybrid power unit which drives through all-wheel drive transmission, this hyper-efficient prototype fits perfectly with PEUGEOT’s Neo-Performance strategy which is geared to both its road and racing cars delivering responsible performance. The work of PEUGEOT SPORT’s engineering team and PEUGEOT Design dovetailed like never before to produce the 9X8.
The broad outline and aerodynamic concept of this PEUGEOT 9X8 was only unveiled after several months of hard work, jointly undertaken by development engineers led by Olivier Jansonnie, Technical Director of PEUGEOT Sport, and the team of designers led by Matthias Hossann, Head of PEUGEOT Design.
The PEUGEOT 9X8 will follow in the footsteps of the brand’s famous endurance models, the PEUGEOT 905 and PEUGEOT 908, winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1992 and 1993, and in 2009 respectively.
With the 9X8, Peugeot is rolling out a genuine brand project based on the concept of Neo-Performance, combining the ultimate in sports performance, technological know-how that can be transferred to production models, efficiency and design excellence.
The new Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) regulations, implemented by the FIA and the ACO to replace the top-level LMP1 category, have been influential in the brand adopting this approach. Offering greater flexibility in the treatment of aerodynamic surfaces, the regulations encouraged a radically different way of thinking and the design of innovative cars, more open to the input of the design teams. Engineers and designers alike have grabbed this opportunity to invent new creation processes, break the mould and create a PEUGEOT Hypercar that is set to establish a totally new genre.
As regards its name, the first 9 represents the Brand’s extreme racing cars, such as PEUGEOT’s Endurance models, the 905 (1990-1993) and the 908 (2007-2011), two of the manufacturer’s iconic machines.
The X evokes the all-wheel drive (four-wheel drive) and hybrid power technologies that feature on the new PEUGEOT Hypercar, which sees the Brand’s electrification strategy extended further in a racing setting.
As regards the 8, this is the figure that is ever present on all contemporary PEUGEOT models: the 208 and 2008, 308, 3008, 5008 and of course the 508, which has recently passed through the hands of the same team of engineers and designers as the Hypercar, to become the first model to bear the PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED label.
“I know the quality of work and innovation of the PEUGEOT Design and PEUGEOT Sport teams, but I have to say they have managed to surprise me with this magnificent 9X8: combining a powerful brand identity with such an elegant and innovative profile is absolutely brilliant,” commented Linda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of PEUGEOT.
NO WING! The opportunities of the LMH (Le Mans Hypercar) regulations
At the rear of the PEUGEOT 9X8, carefully chiselled elements house the three claws of the rear lights, surrounding a wide diffuser, overhung by the playful wording: “We need no rear wing.”
“The new Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) regulations have been designed to even out conventional performance vectors,” explained Olivier Jansonnie, Technical Director of PEUGEOT Sport’s WEC programme. “It’s exciting because it’s now up to us to invent, innovate and find opportunities to generate performance that do not involve conventional means. This was very much the case as regards the aerodynamics. The regulations allow just one adjustable aerodynamic component, without specifying that this has to be the rear wing. Our calculations and simulations suggested that we could achieve very high performance levels without a rear wing.”
The lack of this aerodynamic feature freed up the design of the body shape of the PEUGEOT 9X8, affording it a fluidity that has not been seen on endurance cars for decades. This has enabled the designers, partners to the engineers, to sculpt harmonious and dynamic volumes, and to create vast surfaces connecting the side panels or opening onto the front wheel housings.
A hyper-efficient hybrid powertrain
A 2.6-litre, 500 kW (680 hp) twin-turbo V6 engine, tilted at 90° - the internal combustion engine of the PEUGEOT HYBRID4 500 kW powertrain that will be mid-rear mounted on the 9X8 - has, as expected, racked up the miles on the engine test bench since April of this year.
The 200 kW electric motor/generator will be front mounted, the seven-speed sequential gearbox and the battery are currently being assembled, in order to comply with the test bench validation schedule. PEUGEOT Sport and Saft, a TotalEnergies subsidiary, are taking on a technological challenge every day together by jointly developing the high-power density, high voltage (900 volts) battery.
Le Mans: an excellent test lab for PEUGEOT
In addition to aerodynamic, mechanical and electronic efficiency, top-level racing puts all of PEUGEOT engineering expertise to the test and more so at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the sport’s extreme test – than anywhere else. The 5,400 kilometres covered by the cars at Le Mans in the world famous 24-hour race is more or less the same distance as covered by a Formula 1 car in an entire season. Unwavering reliability and efficiency is therefore required.
Linda Jackson insisted on this point: “PEUGEOT’s involvement in Endurance racing goes beyond just the racing itself: it’s an extreme test lab for PEUGEOT. It also explains why our connection with Le Mans is so strong. The sporting results are important, obviously, but perhaps more so is the validation of our technologies and our research at a 24-hour race held in ultimate racing conditions. We are able to test, in a demanding competitive setting, the hybrid system and technologies related to reducing fuel consumption – and therefore CO2 emissions – that we are currently developing for our production vehicles. Our PEUGEOT Sport teams are proud to see their research integrated in the vehicles in our product line-up. For our customers, this Le Mans test lab is a guarantee of the quality of our cars.”
What the drivers had to say:
“We’ve never seen anything like it”, commented Loïc Duval, Jean-Eric Vergne, Mikkel Jensen, Kevin Magnussen, Gustavo Menezes, Paul Di Resta and James Rossiter. All the drivers cannot wait to get behind the wheel for the first test sessions, which are provisionally scheduled to be held at the end of the year.
In entering the World Endurance Championship, PEUGEOT is opening a new category, that of neo-performance.
The brand returns to endurance racing with the exceptional opportunity to work in the sport in the form of petrol/electric hybrid power. For over ten years, PEUGEOT Sport has proven its proficiency in hybrid-electric technology. The 508 PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED takes its philosophy, technology and performances from the experience acquired with the PEUGEOT 908 Hybrid4 and the PEUGEOT 908 HY demonstration car, then with the PEUGEOT 208 HYbrid FE project and more recently, the PEUGEOT 308 R Hybrid presented in 2015.
The 508 PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED now combines and concentrates this work and technological proficiency. It is a worthy successor to the projects mentioned above. PEUGEOT Sport’s racing DNA and its technological proficiency can be seen in this vehicle, combining very high performance levels, controlled emission values (46 g/km CO2) and a full electric range of 26 miles.
THE NEW PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED LINE
Show off your aesthetic and innovative spirit at the wheel of the new PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED 508 & PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED 508 SW, and enjoy the thrill of efficient, electric, low-emission high performance.