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Olivier Jansonnie – 2022 Debrief

Peugeot Sport’s Technical Director Olivier Jansonnie reflects on the French make’s comeback season to endurance racing in 2022 with the PEUGEOT 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar before outlining the team’s plans for 2023, which include the centenary Le Mans 24 Hours in June. Competition promises to be fierce this year against a host of LMH and LMDh rivals, but that’s a challenge everyone at Team Peugeot TotalEnergies is relishing.

 

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Team Peugeot TotalEnergies’ ambitious 2023 campaign is due to kick off within a matter of weeks, with morale running high after the intensive workload put in by everyone in the team over the last 12 months.

After the PEUGEOT 9X8’s track debut at the beginning of the year, the team went on to contest three races of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) with its brand new LMH.

Those outings – in Italy (Monza), Japan (Fuji) and Bahrain (Sakhir) – saw the two PEUGEOT 9X8s clock up 20 hours and more than 5,100 kilometres of race-action each in the hands of Di Resta/Jensen/Vergne (#93) and Duval/Müller/Menezes (#94). The car reached the finish at all three venues, with its best result being fourth place in Bahrain.

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Attending these three races was a vital part of our preparations for 2023 and our return to Le Mans. We learnt a great deal each time. For example, Monza helped us to hone our race team. Indeed, the previous experience of endurance racing of some staff dated back more than a decade, while others came from other types of motorsport or were completely new to the sport. The weekend in Italy enabled us to familiarise ourselves with the format of FIA WEC rounds and adapt the way we were organised accordingly.

 

We were affected by a number reliability-related issues, but these were resolved in time for Fuji which came as a nice surprise with regard to our competitiveness. Everything went smoothly there every time the car took to the track. There was a sense of disappointment, though, at the 2022 season’s last round, in Bahrain, where a reliability shortfall prevented the PEUGEOT 9X8 from demonstrating its full potential. Until we reach a sufficient degree of reliability, the team will not be able to turn its full attention to extracting maximum performance from the car.”

In 2023, although the basic concept of the car will not change, we intend to make use of the jokers authorised by the regulations to introduce a number of evolutions. Our plan for the early months of the year is simply to focus on reliability, performance and long-distance testing.”

 

The first fixture on the 2023 FIA WEC calendar is the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in Florida, USA, on March 17, when a great deal will be new again for the squad. “Sebring is a very specific circuit and you can’t necessarily apply what you learn there to your preparations for the Le Mans 24 Hours. That said, the race’s duration and the characteristics of the track will likely place the emphasis on durability and reliability. Another aspect that will be useful as part of our build-up to Le Mans is the fact that we will see the LMH and LMDh classes go head-to-head for the very first time as more newcomers join the field. Here again, the experience gained in the three races we contested last year won’t go amiss. In parallel to our race programme, we also have a busy test schedule planned ahead of Le Mans.


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