Peugeot presented its 9X8 prototype, which will mark the brand’s return to endurance and to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The brand will return to Monza this summer and will be at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023.
The technical sheet of the prototype has not changed compared to the concept, but we have discovered the final livery. In addition, Peugeot Sport was able to formalize the competition debut of the 9X8.
They will take place during the 6 Hours of Monza, the fourth round of the 2022 World Endurance Championship. More than ten years after leaving endurance racing, the Lion will once again roar on the world motorsport scene.
The 9X8 will therefore have several test gallops this year, before a full season next year. It will only face Toyota, Alpine and Glickenhaus this year.
In 2023, on the other hand, the year of the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Peugeot will have a hard time dealing with a dozen manufacturers. To the brands mentioned above will be added Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Ferrari and Porsche. In 2024, Alpine will return with a homemade prototype, while Lamborghini will join the party.
A job entirely ‘made in Peugeot Sport’
And like Alpine in 2024, Peugeot wanted to make a 9X8 entirely designed in its factories and workshops. This was explained by Jean-Marc Finot, director of Peugeot Sport.
“We wanted to make a car totally designed by Peugeot, the bodywork, the engine, the electrification and the software. For us, it is a laboratory” confirms the engineer. “It was interesting for us to work with TotalEnergies, we developed the battery, a new fuel and a new version of the engine to be ahead of CO2 emissions. »
Jean-Marc Finot reveals that since the presentation of the concept, the 9X8 has done 25 days of testing. In total, it swallowed 10,000 kilometers of asphalt, in particular to validate the concept without a rear wing.
“Challenging the norm” on the track and on the road
The latter is also the biggest surprise and the biggest innovation on this 9X8. Linda Jackson, CEO of Peugeot, confirms that the brand wanted to highlight its innovative side. Thus, this allowed him to parallel the sports program and the commercial range of the brand.
“There are a lot of expectations, and we have to perform well on the track. The pressure is quite high” Jackson said. “We talk about excitement, and there’s a lot of it for us. »
“But we have to marry the sports program with what is happening for the brand, the two must come together. And it’s a way of showing off the technologies and engineering capabilities of the Peugeot team. For me, it’s important, because it shows the inventiveness of Peugeot. »
“We always wanted to challenge conventional things. 11 months ago people said to us ‘no rear wing? It won’t work’. And here we are 11 months later, without a rear wing. »
“It was the perfect example of how to be revolutionary and challenge the norm. Because the standards for rear wings have been there for more than 60 years, so it’s a big challenge. And it is very important to push the inventiveness. »
A prototype very close to the 2021 concept
As announced a year ago, the Peugeot 9X8 has a V6 at the rear and an electric motor on the front axle. But compared to the concept, it was necessary to change parts to homologate it according to the Hypercar regulations.
The headlights have changed slightly, but they respect Peugeot’s light signature. This was again a crucial request from the manufacturer, in order to join the road and the track.
There are more aerodynamic details than on the concept, to improve performance over the test sessions. The car received fins, but retains its absence of a fin. Finally, Peugeot has worked on the separation of bodywork parts, with the aim of optimizing possible changes of parts.