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Peugeot at Le Mans: Part 2

by

Antonio Eiras

In 2005 Peugeot announced its return to the endurance races. To do this, he assigned Paolo Catone the design of an innovative model in the LMP1 class, with a turbo-diesel engine.

 

The 908 Hdi FAP was presented in September 2006. It had a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, with the cockpit closed, and was powered by a 5,5-liter V12 at 1000engine, equipped with 2 turbochargers and which delivered about 730HP. The gearbox was a 6-speed manual sequential, designed and built by Ricardo, the wheels, in magnesium, were supplied by BBS and the tires by Michelin.

 

In 2007 and after several test sessions, the 908 won its debut race, the 1,000km of Monza, a triumph he repeated in the following race, in Valencia. Strong with this debut, Peugeot presented itself at Le Mans with ambitions of victory.

 

Despite having obtained the pole position, their drivers only achieved an honorable 2nd place, behind the new Audi R10, also powered by a turbo-diesel engine. In its first year, the 905 won 6 races and ensured the victory for the brand, for the team and for the drivers, in that year’s Le Mans Series and Le Mans Cup Championships.

 

In 2008 the 908 has not been so successful and the team lost the Le Mans Series Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, for Audi, even though, once again, they achieved the pole position.

 

In 2009, under the direction of Olivier Quesnel, Peugeot obtained, for the 3rd time, the pole position and the first and only victory of the 908 HDi at Le Mans, with the conquest of the first two places. This same year, the project for a 908 HY was presented, a hybrid version of the HDi, with an electric engine that delivered about 80HP and using lithium batteries that were recharged by the braking energy. This project, like the so-called 90X, was interrupted with the brand's decision to abandon the competition in 2012.

 

The year of 2010 started in an encouraging way for the French team, having won the first 2 places in the 12 Hours of Sebring, but mechanical problems slowed the 908 at the Le Mans race and allowed Audi to conquer all the podium places. In that year, as in 2007, Peugeot won the Le Mans Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Championships, of constructors, teams, and drivers.

 

A new victory at Sebring, in early 2011, raised hopes for Le Mans, but the victory in the 24 Hours was, once again for Audi, that performed an amazing recovery.

 

In early 2012, Peugeot announced the withdrawal of competition in Sport-Prototype’s cars.

 

The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP participated in 30 races, having won 20 of them. He was entered by the official team, Peugeot Sport, by Pescarolo Sport, the team of Henri Pescarolo and by Oreca, the Hugues de Chaunac team.

 

With the 908, Peugeot won 3 Constructors and Teams titles and 2 Drivers titles. Among many others, the 908 was driven by Jacques Villeneuve, Sébastien Bourdais, Alexander Wurz, Marc Gené and Anthony Davidson.

 

At the end of 2019, Peugeot revealed to the press the intention to return to compete, from 2022, in Sport-Prototypes with a Hypercar.

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Peugeot at Le Mans: Part 2

by

Antonio Eiras

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