Though the 9X8 made its debut solely midway by way of the 2022 season, the French producer has determined to convey a serious evolution of the automobile this 12 months, probably utilizing a number of the evo jokers which can be allowed to LMH equipment throughout the laws.
Probably the most seen change would be the addition of a brand new rear wing, as spied throughout a take a look at at Paul Ricard in December, bringing it extra consistent with standard hypercars.
Peugeot can also be anticipated to maneuver away from same-size Michelins on each axles and change to slim entrance tyres (29-inch) and wider rear tyres this season, the identical choice utilized by Toyota, Ferrari and all LMDh contenders final 12 months.
The overhaul follows a difficult first full season in WEC in 2023 by which it seemed sturdy on the Le Mans 24 Hours and scored a podium at Monza, however lacked tempo to run anyplace close to the entrance within the remaining 5 rounds of the 12 months.
Di Resta mentioned Peugeot was in a position to determine areas the place the wingless 9X8 was lagging behind its rivals, and the modifications it has made to handle these weaknesses have given drivers extra confidence within the automobile.
“It is apparent how our automobile labored was very totally different to others,” mentioned the British driver. “I believe how the principles have been determined manner again is the path they went with the automobile that we used final 12 months.
“All through that we noticed the weaknesses by way of the event and in opposition to the competitors. You’ll be able to’t underestimate how the competitors has at all times moved ahead.
“I believe the brand new benchmark that Toyota got here out with final 12 months, Sebring confirmed the distinction you can also make between vehicles.
“Crucial factor for us was if you end up able to make that step you try to do as a lot as potential. However till the lap instances you see in opposition to the competitors you will not know when you’ve got executed a superb job.
Photograph by: Shameem Fahath
#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Muller
“Sure, it can aesthetically be a bit totally different. I am positive folks will clearly see one factor and select to have an opinion on that however for us it is about ensuring the automobile feels good, as a result of if you happen to give the drivers confidence that is an enormous factor in endurance racing.”
Peugeot hasn’t offered a precise date for the debut of the upgraded 9X8, and it’s not clear if the automobile might be prepared for the season opener in Qatar in early March.
Stopping shy of showing any information in regards to the 9X8’s debut, di Resta mentioned it could be unimaginable to guage the competitiveness of the automobile till it’s put immediately in opposition to its Hypercar rivals in WEC.
“We have run components of the automobile. Sure, it feels very totally different,” he defined. “Sure, from a driver it provides you extra suggestions within the path that we wish. However it’s been arduous racing the automobile that we had in opposition to the competitors.
“There are strengths that we have had, and I am not solely speaking about aero, not solely speaking about mechanical, it is right through. However these are the issues that we have now addressed.
“I believe an important factor is all people from the division comes collectively. It was a brand new group that designed this automobile so that is after the information they wanted to collect to go ahead they’ve put all to make use of.
“That is the principle enchancment. However I am trying ahead to see the way it races in opposition to the others, and extra importantly races on the sharp finish hopefully.”
Peugeot has rejigged its driver line-up in WEC this 12 months, with di Resta shifting throughout to the #94 9X8 to affix Loic Duval and newcomer Stoffel Vandoorne, who has been drafted in to exchange Gustavo Menezes within the group.