Peugeot Sport confirmed that it will compete in the Le Mans Hypercar category of the FIA WEC with its new top-class sports car, today at Le Mans, and not LMDh. The French marque showed off design sketches and confirmed that, as previously reported by RACER, it will partner with oil company TOTAL to develop a 500 kW power 4-wheel drive entry.
Peugeot says it chose the LMH platform over LMDh for its project for several reasons. The primary one is that it gives constructors a certain level of aerodynamic freedom, which the company says “makes it possible to incorporate, with the support of Peugeot Design, the aesthetic detail of the brand.”
After having conducted multiple studies for the general structure, aerodynamic concept and the choice of engine architecture, Peugeot will come to a final decision on the electrical framework and then create the hybrid powertrain. All of the Peugeot Sport technical departments are involved in these development phases.
“Le Mans is the holy grail of the automobile world,” said Jean Philippe Imparato, Peugeot brand CEO. “It is the race who determines its winner. For us, this represents three victories but also the endless sweat, tears and joy and an incredible team spirit with TOTAL, with whom we celebrate this year, 25 years of collaboration.”
“This category unites our entire company and all of our entities, with features and technologies similar to those of our production cars. Through this commitment, Peugeot is opening a new register, that of neo-performance. We are coming back to endurance racing because we have the opportunity to work the sport in a different way, with the hybridization of gas and electricity. Peugeot Sport is changing its identity and launching its label of electrified high-performance vehicles — Peugeot Sport Engineered with its first 508 model, (with) 360hp, 4-wheel drive and 46g of CO2. This endurance program allows us to integrate ourselves fully into the transition of energies.”
TOTAL Strategy/Marketing & Research Director Philippe Montanteme added: “We mark 25 years of close collaboration between Peugeot and TOTAL but also of strong involvement in motorsport. Competition, firmly embedded in our DNA, represents a real technical on-hands workshop for our respective brands.
“It is in these workshops that we can work together, in search of perpetual performance and efficiency, in order to share the best solutions and products from high-level sport to our final customers. The Le Mans Hypercar project provides us today possibilities for joint development on the entire energy system of the car; on the efficiency of our fuels — for all the competitors, as the exclusive supplier — or for the lube, specifically designed for hybrid vehicles. It will also allow TOTAL and SAFT to study new battery solutions alongside Peugeot. TOTAL is now a multi-energy company that answers to all mobility demands while maintaining itself as a pioneer. The Le Mans Hypercar embodies this perfectly.”
Olivier Jansonnie, technical director of the Peugeot Sport WEC program, offered a few more hints about the specifications of its Hypercar.
“The car will be 4-wheel drive, equipped — as required by the regulations — with an electric motor and a maximum power of 200 kW on the front axle. The total power level will be identical to that of a 100% thermal 2-wheel drive car — 500kW or approx. 680hp — that will be distributed between the two axles. In comparison with what we currently know in LMP1, the car will be heavier so as to be compatible with road vehicles. It will also be longer and wider.
“This regulation is also different because it incorporates a performance balance. It certainly sets limits, but also allows room for many technical possibilities in our development, specifically on the general shape, as long as a certain overall aerodynamic efficiency is not exceeded. This will be measured in a 1:1 scale wind tunnel and which will be part of the BOP.
“We have confirmed part of the aerodynamic concept, the engine framework has been decided and we have chosen the functionality of the hybrid system and its fundamental design. We still have several steps left before our debut in endurance in 2022, in studies, the production of prototypes and finally, affirmation on the bench and on the track.”