Follow us

Brice Gaillardon : “The technical and human sides are both key to success in racing”

For Brice Gaillardon, race engineer on the #94 PEUGEOT 9X8 crewed by Loïc Duval, James Rossiter and Gustavo Menezes, the priority is clear: slotting all the pieces of the puzzle into place to turn Team Peugeot TotalEnergies into a winning force in 2023.

“Every time we race, the aim is to win,” says Brice Gaillardon, mirroring both his personal commitment to the project and the ambitions of Peugeot Sport upon its return to endurance racing. Confessing that patience is “not one of his chief strengths”, the race engineer on the #94 PEUGEOT 9X8 adds: “The very reason we are competing this year is to prepare ourselves as effectively as possible for achieving strong results in 2023.”

Boasting broad experience in motorsport – with a career that has taken in single-seater racing, Le Mans and Formula E – this graduate of Lyon’s École Centrale inherited his passion for the sport from his parents, as well as from the region in which he grew up, Occitanie, where there is a strong tradition of rallying and hillclimbs. And, like his close friend, two-time Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, Brice has lost his heart to France’s twice-around-the-clock classic.

The Frenchman is accordingly as determined as Team Peugeot TotalEnergies to win Le Mans’ headlining Hypercar category in the race’s centenary edition next year – up against several extremely high-calibre rivals. He has been involved in the project since the very first tests of Peugeot’s ground-breaking new prototype, and is on duty whenever the car takes to the track.

“I couldn’t imagine not being there when the car runs, be that in testing or at races,” he admits. “My role is to liaise between the different groups, from the engineers and mechanics to the drivers themselves. It’s as much about nurturing human relationships as developing the technical side. In every successful race team, both of these aspects are vital.”



Whether in his office in Satory, near Paris, or trackside in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Brice is continually monitoring and assessing the hybrid PEUGEOT 9X8 in all its forms: the race car, the team’s dedicated test car and even the simulator, which is recalibrated from one venue to the next, from Monza to Fuji and subsequently Bahrain.

“I keep an eye on everything, from mechanical issues on the car to ensuring, for example, that the mechanics’ balaclavas are not visible outside of their helmets,” he explains. “When we joined the grid at Monza back in July, we found ourselves in the structured framework of a race weekend. Before that, we had been able to follow our own timetable, whereas now our programme must fit into a very precise schedule. At Monza, there were things that caught us by surprise. By the time we got to Fuji, though, we knew far better what to expect. When it comes to making progress, there is no substitute for actually going racing.”



In Japan, Team Peugeot TotalEnergies had the potential to finish on the podium, had it not been for trouble with the lubrication system that afflicted both cars. “We have tools that enable us to anticipate the relative performance of our competitors,” he notes, before cautioning: “It was clear that we did not have the outright pace to take the fight to the best, so we still have work to do.”

And the team is knuckling down, with further tests planned at different circuits, as well as simulator sessions back at its base in Satory. Not only that, but the race cars have also been completely stripped, meticulously inspected and rebuilt.

In Bahrain, on November 12, a new adventure awaits Team Peugeot TotalEnergies, with a longer, eight-hour race compared to the six-hour fixtures it has tackled so far. With wind and sand just two of the additional factors to take into account, the Middle-Eastern event will throw up an entirely different set of challenges to those encountered at Monza and Fuji.

“The extra distance and the different environment will put us to the test once again,” acknowledges Brice, “while allowing us to further trial and assess the 9X8’s various components – all with a view to preparing for Le Mans and the season ahead in 2023.”

Other news

See all