After months of waiting, one of the most long-awaited entrants to the FIA World Endurance Championship’s new Hypercar class is finally here. Peugeot has unveiled its challenger for World Championship and Le Mans glory: the Peugeot 9X8 hypercar.
The 9X8 is an all-wheel-drive hybrid hypercar delivering 680 hp (500 kW) from the rear axle through a twin-turbo V6 engine and a further 200 kW through the front wheels. It is due to compete in the WEC from the 2022 season.
The two-car entry for the new season will feature the likes of Paul di Resta and Kevin Magnussen and marks Peugeot’s return to top-class prototype racing after a decade-long absence.
Radical new design
In terms of the overall design, the Peugeot 9X8 hypercar marks a significant departure from the LMP1 era with styling cues and design elements taken directly from the related road car, the 508 Peugeot Sport.
“The greater flexibility allowed by the sport’s new technical rules regarding aerodynamics permits radical new thinking that favours the emergence of innovative cars, with scope for the design teams to make an even bigger contribution,” wrote Peugeot Sport in its press release. “Peugeot’s engineers and designers effectively took advantage of this opportunity to invent new creative processes and break away from established codes to produce a Hypercar of a completely new genre.”
Countless teaser videos and carefully concealed imagery hinted that the French carmaker had designed something special, but the new Hypercar machine appears to have surprised even the most imaginative fans.
Arguably the most prominent feature of the new racing car isn’t a feature at all, it’s the lack of one. The Peugeot 9X8 has no rear wing. “The absence of a rear wing on the PEUGEOT 9X8 is a major innovative step,” says [Peugeot parent company] Stellantis’ Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot. “We have achieved a degree of aerodynamic efficiency that allows us to do away with this feature.”
The car is set to be tested extensively over the remainder of the year before its competitive debut in early 2022.
- Class: Le Mans Hypercar (LMH)
- Length: 5,000mm
- Width: 2,080mm
- Height: 1,180mm
- Wheelbase: 3,045mm
- Powertrain: PEUGEOT HYBRID4 500KW (all-wheel drive)
- Rear-drive train: 500kW (680hp), 2.6L twin-turbo, 90-degree V6 petrol internal combustion engine + seven-speed sequential transmission
- Front-drive train: 200kW electric motor-generator + single-speed reducer
- Battery: High density, 900-volt battery co-designed by Peugeot Sport, TotalEnergies/Saft
- Fuel and lubricants: TotalEnergies