PEUGEOT has taken the wraps off the new 9X8, its latest-generation Hypercar challenger which is poised to make its competitive debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) in 2022.
Powered by a hybrid power unit which drives through all-wheel drive transmission, this hyper-efficient prototype fits perfectly with Peugeot’s Neo-Performance strategy which is geared to both its road and racing cars delivering responsible performance.
The work of Peugeot Sport’s engineering team and Peugeot Design dovetailed like never before to produce the 9X8, which heralds a new era in motor racing due to its flowing lines, the absence of a rear wing and the strong brand identity it exudes.
The innovative technical solutions it packs and its catlike stance stand out as unmistakable Peugeot hallmarks. The brand’s latest endurance racing contender is a direct successor to the Peugeot 905, winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1992 and 1993.
It draws inspiration from the 908 too, which won the French classic in 2009. The new prototype is poised to continue the make’s long and successful involvement in world-class motorsport with highly competitive cars.
Since the announcement in September 2020 of Peugeot’s involvement in endurance racing’s new Le Mans Hypercar class, the factory in Versailles, near Paris, has been working feverishly on the 9X8.
As planned, the car’s rear-mounted, 2.6-litre, bi-turbo, 500kW (680hp), 90-degree V6 – the internal-combustion engine part of the Peugeot HYBRID4 500KW powertrain – has been clocking up kilometres on the bench since April.
Meanwhile, the front-mounted 200kW motor-generator unit, seven-speed sequential gearbox and battery are in the process of being assembled in keeping with the bench-testing validation schedule.
The powerful, technologically-sophisticated, high-voltage (900 volts), high-density battery is being codeveloped by Peugeot Sport and Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies.
“Our target with regard to our energy requirements is flawless reliability and perfect control,” explains Jean-Marc Finot.
“The exceptional energy-efficiency of the new Hypercars prefigures what we will see shortly in the world of road cars,” he added.
“This consideration had a fundamental influence on our work on the PEUGEOT 9X8 package, every aspect of which needs to contribute to achieving hyper efficiency, from its powertrain to its aerodynamics.”
The 9X8’s front and rear lighting signatures, which take the form of three claw-like strokes, are familiar Peugeot trademarks, while the brand’s new lion’s head logo features in backlit form at the front and on the sides of the car.
The Selenium Grey and contrasting Kryptonite acid green/yellow highlights of both the body and inside the cockpit echo the colour scheme chosen for the new Peugeot Sport Engineered line, which was introduced with the 508 and 508 SW.
The designers also paid exceptional attention to the 9X8’s interior, with a unique, racing focused look. The rear end too, came in for special attention. The rear light signature flanks a wide diffusor above which the quip “We didn’t want a rear wing” is written.
Rear wings were first seen at the Le Mans 24 Hours on the Chaparral 2F, which contested the race in 1967, so this is the first time their use has been questioned in more than half-a-century.
The 9X8’s innovative rear stems from research carried out by Peugeot Sport’s engineering team. Doing away with a rear wing provided the freedom to design the sort of sleek silhouette that hasn’t been seen for decades.
Indeed, working hand-in-hand with their engineer colleagues, the designers made the most of the opportunity to create a harmonious blend of dynamic, sculpted shapes which form a clean, sweeping surface between the prominent wheel arches.