The electrification of PEUGEOT’s model line-up is a core feature of its strategy as it bids to deliver carbon-free mobility within the shortest timeframe possible. But what connection does this have with the PEUGEOT 9X8’s upcoming race debut at the 6 Hours of Monza, Italy, on July 10? Simple: the brand’s involvement in the headlining Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours with its new, hybrid-powered Hypercar is making a real contribution to the acceleration of PEUGEOT’s progress in the realm of electrification technology. The introduction of the LMH class was central to the make’s decision to return to endurance racing.
SPORT: AN UNCOMPROMISING ACCELERATOR OF PROGRESS
The taste for competition has long been part of Peugeot’s DNA. As long ago as June 1895, for example, a PEUGEOT driven by Paul Koechlin was accredited with victory in the world’s first-ever timed automobile race!
The brand has been active in motorsport ever since, as much out of passion as through reasoned choice. The research and development of technical solutions are systematically faster in racing due to its repeated deadlines and other constraints which produce results far more quickly than when following conventional processes. From efficient energy-consumption, to enhanced reliability, performance and safety, many of the givens that today’s racers take for granted ultimately go on to benefit everyday motorists, and the degree of excellence required in racing perfectly mirrors that which PEUGEOT demands of itself.
Over the decades, PEUGEOT has been involved in almost every major form of motorsport as a function of both the regulations governing the different disciplines and its own strategic focuses. And it was the announcement in June 2019 of the creation of a new Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) class in endurance racing that spurred PEUGEOT into returning to the sport and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
First of all, it saw that the category’s rules permitted a more judicious use of resources, not to mention cost savings which those who drew up the regulations estimated could be as much as 20 percent compared with the former LMP (Le Mans Prototype) blue-ribband class, superseded in 2021. LMH also made it possible to conceive cars that carry over the design cues of the respective makes’ roadgoing models, as well as the ability to choose between different concepts, including hybrid power. It was precisely this opportunity it gave to demonstrate its electrification expertise that appealed to PEUGEOT in particular.
A PERFECT GRASP OF ELECTRIFICATION
When LMH became the new premier class in world-championship endurance racing and at Le Mans, North America’s WeatherTech IMSA race series aligned its own regulations with those introduced by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) and the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) by creating an LMDh category (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) with a view to ensuring even bigger grids.
In addition to running chassis supplied by one of four approved makers, competitors in LMDh also share hybrid components. Indeed, one of LMDh’s chief differentiating features is the fact that manufacturers bring their own internal-combustion engine (ICE) expertise and body designs to the table but take their chassis and electrification systems from outside suppliers.
What attracted PEUGEOT to topflight endurance racing with an LMH car more than anything else; however, was the electrification aspect and the overall control it gave over the design of the complete drivetrain, and not just the internal-combustion engine.