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Peugeot plans “huge evolution” of Le Mans Hypercar for 2024 WEC

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The French producer’s motorsport boss, Jean-Marc Finot, has revealed that the in-house Peugeot Sport staff is endeavor what he described as a “huge evolution” of the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar, which made its debut within the World Endurance Championship final summer season.

He revealed that the overhaul of a design that has thus far completed no higher than third within the Hypercar class of the WEC will embody a swap away from the identical width tyres all spherical for which the 9X8 hybrid was conceived.

Moderately than operating the 31cm Michelins on each the entrance and rear axles, Peugeot will transfer to the narrower entrance tyres (29cm) and wider rear tyres (34cm) run by the Toyota and Ferrari LMHs as properly all LMDh equipment.

Finot wouldn’t reveal whether or not or not the revised 9X8, which is able to exploit the ‘evo joker’ guidelines that permit 5 efficiency upgrades in the course of the life cycle of an LMH or LMDh, will run a standard rear wing.

Autosport understands, nevertheless, that an up to date model of the 9X8 will start testing with a rear wing as quickly as Peugeot Sport kicks off its winter growth programme within the wake the ultimate spherical of the 2023 WEC this weekend in Bahrain.

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“We’ve made the choice to design the automobile once more,” mentioned Finot in Bahrain. “We are going to include a powerful evolution for subsequent 12 months to benefit from the 29/34 tyres.

“At Peugeot Sport we’re fighters, so we made the choice to make an enormous evolution of the automobile as a result of we need to be again with the front-runners.”

With regards to a rear wing, he remained noncommittal.

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoorn

He defined that each the automobile’s weight distribution and the aerodynamic centre of strain might be pushed backwards to use the transfer to wider rear tyres.

“We’ve to extend the downforce on the rear and reduce the downforce on the entrance,” he defined.

“There are various methods to try this, so we are going to hold a shock.”

Finot wouldn’t be drawn on whether or not the revised 9X8 might be prepared for the opening spherical of the 2024 WEC in Qatar firstly of March.

“The schedule could be very tight and we are going to do our greatest,” he mentioned.

“The schedule will not be completely frozen; we’ve got to barter this schedule with the FIA and the Vehicle Membership de l’Ouest [the WEC rule makers and organisers].”

His feedback counsel that Peugeot may begin its 2024 marketing campaign with the prevailing model of the 9X8 earlier than bringing the revised automobile on stream within the run-up to the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

Finot insisted that Peugeot had been pressured to undertake the most important improve as a result of “after one 12 months we see that the Stability of Efficiency will not be fulfilling our expectations”.

He identified that 9X8 had been designed for a front-axle deployment velocity of 120km/h as laid down by the unique LMH laws.

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoorn

Photograph by: Shameem Fahath

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoorn

This at present stands at 135km/h for the 9X8 within the newest BoP, however a lower from the 150km/h at which electrical drive by means of the entrance axle was beforehand allowed has not overcome the traction limitations of the automobile.

The idea of the 9X8 was undermined, Finot defined, by a change within the laws that allowed a producer operating an LMH hybrid to selected the 29/34 tyre choice.

This adopted modifications within the laws that had been a part of the convergence course of to align the efficiency of LMH and LMDh equipment.

This included a discount within the minimal weight from 1080kg to 1040kg for four-wheel-drive LMHs.

Toyota argued that its design was compromised by this as a result of it wasn’t in a position to optimise the burden distribution of its GR010 HYBRID for the 31/31 tyre choice on the decrease minimal weight.

It was allowed to revise the GR010 to run the 29/34 tyres between the 2021 and ’22 seasons.

Finot argued that Peugeot was not in a position to comply with swimsuit as a result of the 9X8 design was already accomplished and the automobile in manufacture when the choice was made within the autumn of 2021.

A change within the laws for 2023 mandated the 29/34 choice for all new LMHs.

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