THE 2009 LE MANS 24 HOURS BEGIN AT SEBRING FOR PEUGEOT
As announced on February 9, Team Peugeot Total's 2009 competitive programme will kick off with the first round of the American Le Mans Series at Sebring on March 18-20. This 12-hour race is reputed as an exacting test of both the drivers and their cars, which is exactly what Peugeot Sport is looking for as it builds up to Le Mans.
Peugeot Sport's energy and resources for 2009 are focused entirely on the French endurance classic and, as part of its preparations, the team will be contesting two full-scale dress rehearsals between now and June; at Sebring, and then at Spa-Francorchamps in May.
The team will be kept particularly busy during its visit to the USA, with plenty of running thanks to a programme which extends beyond the race itself. Team Peugeot Total will take part in the test session on Saturday March 14.
Then after the race, its schedule will continue with further testing at the circuit on March 23-24. "There's a great deal about Sebring that makes it a key fixture and, as a circuit, it is representative of what we will find at Le Mans. With the exception of the French event, it is also the longest race of the calendar, which makes it a first class chance to see how a car stands up to the grime and punishment over a long period of time. We have a busy, well-defined programme to work through, and we should be able to collect a large amount of data because we have entered two cars, compared with just one last year. We will notably be able to put the air conditioning system and the new aerodynamics dictated by the 2009 regulations through their paces," underlines Peugeot Sport's Technical Director Bruno Famin.
The two Peugeots entered for the team's first competitive outing of the year are:
N°7 908 HDi FAP: Nicolas Minassian/Pedro Lamy/Christian KlienN°9 908 HDi FAP: Stéphane Sarrazin/Sébastien Bourdais/Franck Montagny
Both Peugeots will run in their distinctive blue and chrome livery, but it will be possible to tell them apart by the colour of their wing and mirrors. The wing and mirrors of the N°7 car will be white, with Peugeot written in black. The wing and mirrors of the N°8 car will be blue, with Peugeot written in white.
Sebring will be new for Franck Montagny and Christian Klien, but the four other drivers are already familiar with the Florida venue.
Minassian/Lamy/Sarrazin shared a car for this race in 2008, overcoming a variety of technical incidents to come 12th. Sébastien Bourdais won the GT2 category at Sebring in 2006 when he shared a Panoz with… David Brabham!
"Our mission is very clear," stresses Peugeot Sport Director Olivier Quesnel. "Our objective is to prepare for Le Mans. We won't be out to start from pole or set the fastest race lap at all costs by taking unconsidered risks. We need to progress on the technical, human and strategic fronts. That said, we won't refuse victory if it comes our way…"
Peugeot's Programme for the 12 Hours of Sebring:
Saturday March 14: free practiceMonday March 16: 10:50-12:2016:10-17:40free practicefree practiceTuesday March 17: 13:30-15:00free practiceWednesday March 18: 10:45-11:4014:40-15:35free practice free practiceThursday March 19:10:20-11:1515:15-15:4019:15-21:00free practicequalifying practicefree practiceFriday March 20:09:55-10:55free practiceSaturday March 21:07:50-08:1510:30-22:30warm-up57th 12 Hours of SebringMonday March 23 and Tuesday March 24: free practice
Live coverage:- Motors TV- Speed TVsebringraceway.com