Peugeot unveils its upcoming hybrid hypercar that will compete in the World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019. It looks stunning – literally, it “looks fast standing still” – but Peugeot’s designers and engineers are taking a big gamble here, betting that they can create the kind of aerodynamic downforce required to compete with Toyota.
9X8 is a better reason yet to watch sports car races as it shows that a variety of manufacturers are taking the new Le Mans Hypercar class seriously, and that they are prepared to put an amazing amount of effort into designing vehicles that are refreshingly innovative and different.
Peugeot will race this radical car next year, joining Toyota and single-car team Glickenhaus, but Ferrari will also enter a car starting in 2023. This is the first prototype racing car built by the Italian manufacturer for more than half a century.
Audi and Porsche withdrew from what was then the most expensive prototype class in endurance races, Le Mans Prototype 1, citing high costs, leading to the creation of Le Mans Hypercars.
As a result, Toyota dominated the series as basically the sole entrant in the top class during the interim. (Audi and Porsche focused instead on Formula E, the all-electric racing series that is far less expensive – though Audi has since announced it is leaving that series.)
By creating a new class, FIA has addressed the cost issue and given potential competitors a new set of challenges. Several technological advances are also reported, as well as being a bit slower than LMP1.
It’s still a monster of a car. Peugeot is co-developing a 900-volt battery pack with French company Saft that will be powered by a Peugeot V6 engine with 680 horsepower and a 200kW electric motor.
This kind of clever solution to a technical problem is one of the reasons to watch endurance racing in the first place, but – as of now at least – the Hypercar class in Le Mans doesn’t seem overly prescriptive. The wingless design is possible due to Peugeot’s claim that the rules allow for ample wiggle room.
“New aerodynamic technical rules in racing allow greater flexibility, which allows for radical new thinking to emerge, allowing design teams to have a greater impact,” Peugeot Sport said in a statement.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, Peugeot’s engineers and designers came up with new creative ideas that broke away from the established codes, resulting in a completely unique hypercar.”