Designed to race: the new PEUGEOT 9X8 Hypercar

Designed to race: the new PEUGEOT 9X8 Hypercar

PEUGEOT has revealed details of the new 9X8, its latest-generation Hypercar which is set to make its competitive debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2022. Powered by hybrid technology and featuring all-wheel drive, the new 9X8 Hypercar showcases PEUGEOT’s Neo-Performance strategy which combines technology and sportiness in both PEUGEOT’s road and race cars. The Hypercar is a product of the latest work between PEUGEOT Sport and PEUGEOT Design, heralding a new era in racing and a new era in race car design.

The PEUGEOT 9X8 – the brand’s latest endurance racing contender – is a direct successor to the PEUGEOT 905, winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1992 and 1993, and the PEUGEOT 908, which won the iconic race in 2009. The new prototype race car is poised to continue PEUGEOT’s successful history in top-level motorsport.

The 9X8 Hypercar is a brand-driven project highlighting PEUGEOT’s ‘Neo-Performance’ vision which is built around combining a premium sporting pedigree with styling excellence, efficiency and technological expertise that can be carried over to PEUGEOT’s road cars.

PEUGEOT’s Design and engineering teams have worked in collaboration with its racing division, PEUGEOT Sport, to explore new aerodynamic solutions and styling ideas to create a completely original race car. The PEUGEOT 9X8’s design and aerodynamics have been developed under the responsibility of PEUGEOT Sport Technical Director Olivier Jansonnie and the design team led by PEUGEOT Design Director Matthias Hossann. Greater flexibility, allowed by the sport’s new technical rules regarding aerodynamics, permits new thinking that favours the emergence of innovative cars, allowing for new creative processes and a break away from established procedures to produce a Hypercar for a completely new era.

The name of PEUGEOT’s new Hypercar competitor, the PEUGEOT 9X8, is inspired by a combination of the brand’s motorsport heritage and vision for the future. The “9” continues the series employed by PEUGEOT on its previous race cars, the PEUGEOT 905 (which raced from 1990 until 1993) and the 908 (2007 until 2011), both of which have become icons.

The “X” refers to the PEUGEOT Hypercar’s all-wheel drive technology and hybrid powertrain, which embodies the brand’s electrification strategy in the world of motor racing. PEUGEOT will provide a fully electrified variant across its passenger car and van range by 2025.

The “8” is common across all of PEUGEOT’s current model names, from the 208 and 2008 to the 308, 3008, 5008 and, of course, the 508. The latter has been worked on by the same engineers and designers working on the current Hypercar project, to create PEUGEOT’s first ever PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED model.

Two PEUGEOT 9X8s will contest the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship.

The 9X8’s front and rear lighting signatures, which take the form of three claw-like strokes, are familiar PEUGEOT trademarks, while the brand’s new lion’s head logo features at the front and on the sides of the car. The Selenium Grey and contrasting Kryptonite acid green/yellow highlights, featured on both the body and inside the cockpit, echo the colour scheme chosen for the new PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED line, introduced first on the 508 and 508 SW.

The sculpted wheels contribute to the balanced lines of the car’s uncluttered, sharply-structured flanks, while the wing vents reveal the top of the tyres and the perfectly-integrated mirrors contribute to the car’s aerodynamics.

PEUGEOT Design Director, Matthias Hossann, said: “Since the 9X8 is a PEUGEOT, the original sketch that steered our work portrayed a big cat ready to pounce, a stance which we have suggested by the slightly forward-tilting cockpit. The overall lines of the PEUGEOT 9X8 express the brand’s styling cues, while its sleek, racy, elegant forms inspire emotion and dynamism.

“Inside, we wanted to take a special approach to the cockpit which, until now, has tended to be a purely functional and indistinctive aspect of racing cars, with no brand identity whatsoever. The combination of our colour scheme and PEUGEOT’s i-Cockpit interior styling signature have provided the 9X8’s cockpit with a distinctive feel and make it immediately identifiable as a PEUGEOT.”

PEUGEOT’s Chief Executive Officer Linda Jackson, said: “I know the teams at PEUGEOT Design and PEUGEOT Sport and they always produce quality, innovative work, but I have to admit to being blown away by the 9X8. It is simply magnificent. The way its innovative, flowing lines exude such a powerful brand identity is masterful.”

The finely-chiselled details of the PEUGEOT 9X8’s rear-end design includes the quip “We didn’t want a rear wing” above a wide diffuser. Rear wings were first seen at the Le Mans 24 Hours on the Chaparral 2F which contested the race in 1967, meaning this is the first time their use has been questioned in more than half-a-century. The 9X8’s innovative rear stems from research carried out by PEUGEOT Sport’s engineering team as they worked to ensure the model was as aerodynamic as possible, whilst maintaining an eye-catching style.

Stellantis Motorsport Director, Jean-Marc Finot said: “The absence of a rear wing on the PEUGEOT 9X8 is a major innovative step. We have achieved a degree of aerodynamic efficiency that allows us to do away with this feature. Don’t ask how, though! We have every intention of keeping that a secret as long as we possibly can!”

Hyper-efficient hybrid powertrain
Since the announcement in September 2020 of PEUGEOT’s entry into the new Le Mans Hypercar class, the factory in Versailles, near Paris, has been working tirelessly on the 9X8.

As planned, the car’s rear-mounted, 2.6-litre, bi-turbo, 500kW (680hp), 90-degree V6 – the internal-combustion engine part of the PEUGEOT HYBRID4 500kW powertrain – has been clocking up miles since April.

Meanwhile, the front-mounted 200kW motor-generator unit, seven-speed sequential gearbox and battery are in the process of being assembled, keeping with the bench-testing validation schedule. The powerful, technologically-sophisticated, high-voltage (900 volts), high-density battery is being co-developed by PEUGEOT Sport and Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies.

Le Mans, a laboratory for PEUGEOT
In addition to its aerodynamic, mechanical and electronic efficiency, the new car will serve to showcase PEUGEOT’s extensive engineering expertise in the world of endurance racing. The Le Mans 24 Hours is a notoriously demanding event, and with the cars covering over 3,300 miles, they come close to the distance seen in a full season of Formula 1.

Linda Jackson said: “There’s more to PEUGEOT’s involvement in endurance racing than the sporting aspect. 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. More significant perhaps than the results we obtain on the racetrack are the opportunities it provides to prove our technology and the fruit of our research work in a race that throws extreme conditions at you for 24 hours.

“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. The teams at PEUGEOT Sport are proud when they see their research carried over to our production models. For our customers, Le Mans is a laboratory that testifies to the quality of our cars.”

In the drivers’ own words…

Paul DI RESTA – Scotland / 35 / former Formula 1 driver / 2010 DTM Champion:
“Everyone wondered what the Hypercars would look like and now they’re here. The 9X8’s aggressive, innovative stance and strong brand identity are a big surprise.”

Loïc DUVAL – France / 39 / 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours winner / 2013 World Endurance Champion:
“There are cars that you look at and say they’re nice from the three-quarters front view, say, or from the side, from the front or from the back. The 9X8 looks terrific from every angle!”

Mikkel JENSEN – Denmark / 26 / endurance racing driver / 2019 ELMS LMP3 Champion:
“The 9X8’s lines are very different to those that have been unveiled or hinted at in recent months. It will be a historic moment if we succeed in winning with this car because nothing in this style has ever been attempted before.”

Kevin MAGNUSSEN – Denmark / 28 / former Formula 1 driver / IMSA endurance racing driver:
“There’s been nothing like it before. It really looks like the future of racing. It’s the first time so much work has gone into a racing car’s actual design. The absence of a rear wing was as a huge surprise. It feels like the beginning of a new era.”

Gustavo MENEZES – United States / 26 / World Endurance Championship driver / 2016 LMP2 Le Mans 24 Hours winner / 2016 LMP2 World Champion:
“The 9X8 signals the beginning of a new chapter in motor racing. These past 10 or so years have been marked by LMP1 prototypes. It was time to invent an iconic future with the 9X8.”

James ROSSITER – Great Britain / 37 / former Formula 1, ALMS and Super GT driver:
“I really wasn’t expecting this much creativity. Its design is really disruptive. PEUGEOT’s Hypercar has pushed the envelope.”

Jean-Eric VERGNE – France / 31 / former Formula 1 driver / two-time Formula E Champion:
“The PEUGEOT 9X8 is revolutionary. The teams responsible for its design have taken it in a direction that hasn’t been seen in motor racing for a long time. Magnificent!”

PEUGEOT 9X8 – Technical Data

Class: Le Mans Hypercar (LMH)
Length: 5,000mm
Width: 2,080mm
Height: 1,180mm
Wheelbase: 3,045mm
Powertrain: PEUGEOT HYBRID4 500KW (all-wheel drive)
Rear-drive train: 500kW (680hp), 2.6L twin-turbo, 90-degree V6 petrol internal combustion engine + seven-speed sequential transmission
Front-drive train: 200kW electric motor-generator + single-speed reducer
Battery: High density, 900-volt battery co-designed by Peugeot Sport, TotalEnergies/Saft
Fuel and lubricants: TotalEnergies

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