Follow us

Gautier Bouteiller : ”In Fuji, we lived a real race weekend”

during a private test session of the Peugeot 9X8, from April 19 to 21, 2022 at Magny-Cours, France - Photo Antonin Vincent / DPPI

Gautier Bouteiller, car engineer of the #93 Peugeot 9X8, driven by Vergne-Jensen-Di Resta, reports on the first two FIA World Endurance Championship races for the Team Peugeot TotalEnergies. This is an essential start before the team’s official yearly commitment in 2023 and its performance objectives against the competition in the Le Mans Hypercar class. 


Gautier Bouteiller will won’t forget any time soon the first drive of the PEUGEOT 9X8 at La Ferté-Vidame, forty kilometres from Paris, a little less than a year ago. A native of Dieppe and a motorsport enthusiast since childhood, without any member of his family being directly involved in these disciplines, the car engineer assigned to the brand new Le Mans Hypercar Hybrid, bearing the number 93, is as surprised by the behaviour of this prototype without a rear wing as he is by the attitude of the thirty or so engineers facing him: “From the outset, I realised that the biggest challenge awaiting me would be to get all these people to communicate with each other. It’s a complex car, the most complex I’ve ever had to make run, and it requires a lot of skills that need to be connected and work in harmony. It’s a great challenge,” says Gautier Bouteiller. His student and professional careers have taken him through Boutsen Racing, Citroën Racing, Hexis, Oak, Oreca and Rebellion, with one conviction: he loves the track, and lives competition. Thanks to these experiences, the Frenchman knows all the subtleties of endurance racing. “I have competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the European Le Mans Series, the Asian Le Mans Series, IMSA, in various categories, both GT and LMP….” An expertise that proves invaluable for Peugeot’s return to endurance racing, after its last experience between 2007 and 2011 with the 908 HDI.



Monza, a start to everything


“At Monza in July, when we made our competitive debut, it was almost the first time the team had run both cars together. Some people thought that our commitment was premature, that it was still too early, but sooner or later you have to start. For the car and for the team. In fact, I will remember Monza as a time when we went from being a development team to a race team, forced to respect a precise weekend schedule. On the track, we were confronted with reliability problems, some of which we had never encountered before. On the #93, we were immobilised for a long time and we were unable to see the finish. In these cases, you have to stay calm, find solutions even if the expectations were high for this first race. We knew that reliability would be a critical point for this first race.”  



Fuji, the podium in sight

After two test sessions following the 6 Hours of Monza, the Peugeot TotalEnergies team went to Fuji with the same intentions: to learn from the racing environment and develop the hybrid prototype on a new track, this time marked by a long straight of more than 1.5 km and a wide variety of corners. The three events scheduled for 2022 have this purpose: they should complete the teams preparation and the race cars’ for an ambitious 2023 season, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a target.

“In Fuji, the practice sessions and the qualifying sessions, were more fluid compared to Monza. We were able to run a programme. We were able to evaluate different types of tyres, to focus on the set-up. None of the problems that affected us at Monza reoccured in Fuji. This shows that we have a better understanding of our car. In terms of performance, it is true that we were still behind Toyota, but the podium was within reach. An oil leak affected both our machines, depriving us of the battle for the podium, but again, that is part of the experience and the process. We still have some work to do but for our second official FIA WEC entry we had a real race weekend. In Bahrain, it’s not 6 but 8 hours of racing that await us, in different weather and environmental conditions. Hopefully with a good margin for improvement again. “

Other news

See all