Peugeot 9×8 is ready for its first competitive close-up in July

Equipped with the Peugeot 9×8 Hybrid Hypercar, it will race in the World Endurance Championship racers starting this July. When the French automaker showed off its fancy design last year, the marquee feature lacked a feature: there were no hind wings, only a docktail-like spoiler lip along the back edge. After 25 days of this year’s test at Aragon, Paul Ricard, Magnus-Course, Barcelona and Portimao Circuits, after more than 6,000 miles of data, the off-quarters need to be slightly changed. The strokes above the rear fender sprout longer than before, each winglet and endplate sprouting. The result will be different from the track we’ve seen so far, unless Cadillac follows its similarly wingless LMDh car.

Peugeot states that the upper rear wings were first seen in 1967 at 24 Hours of Le Mans, which refers to the Chaparal 2F whose driver had an adjustable upper wing. The last time a high-flying car in a French countryside won a day-long race was in 1971, when current Red Bull F1 advisers Helmut Marco and Giuseppe Van Lennep drove a Porsche 917 towards the checkered flag. Peugeot won the race in 1992 and 1993 with the W10-powered Peugeot 905 with Danawala crowd and again in 2009 with the diesel-V12-powered 908 HDi-FAP.

The back of the 9×8 driver is powered by a 2.6-liter twin-turbo V6 that transmits 671 horsepower to the rear axle via a seven-speed sequential gearbox. A 268-hp electric motor-generator rotates the front axle. Racer’s first display won’t use any of that puzzle, though, as Peugeot is taking the kryptonite-colored car as a static display only for next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first competitive test was held the following month, July 10, at the 6 Hours of Manza, Italy. From now until then, Peugeot Sport plans more tests, including running in the car’s first 6-hour running conditions. Two cars are planned for the Italian campaign, where they will go against Grandpa’s Alpine LMP1 car and Scuderia Cameron Glikenhouse and Toyota Hypercar. Driver pairings have not yet been selected, but the six-member team includes Loic Duval, Mikkel Jensen, Gustavo Menezes, Paul di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne, and the late James Rossiter, who replaces Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnassen.

The team says they are going to Italy to compete for the win, not to use the event as a trial session or mere parade. The plan is to compete in the final two rounds, 6 hours for Fuji and 8 hours for Bahrain, before taking the right test for next year’s 24-hour Le Mans. In the near future, we should look at the road-going version of the 9×8, the rules of the series that require 20 models to be sold to the public for hypercar entry.

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