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WEC Sebring

Peugeot already working on gearshift fix which hurt WEC Sebring charge

Peugeot has revealed that a solution to the gearshift issue that hit both its 9X8 Le Mans Hypercars at the Sebring World Endurance Championship round is already under development.

#93 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Éric Vergne

The problem encountered by the #94 car in the opening moments of the Sebring 1000 Miles on Friday and then the #93 early in the second hour was already known to the team, Peugeot Sport technical director Olivier Jansonnie explained after the race.

He described it as an issue with the actuator, which will be solved with an updated part in time for the second round of the 2023 WEC at Portimao on 16 April.

“We know we have this issue, a weak point on the car,” said Jansonnie.

“It is something we have worked on, but we could not make it [the update] available for this race.

“It doesn’t really look good, but it wasn’t such a surprise because it is something we know about. I wouldn’t say that we were expecting to have the problem, especially not so early in the race.”

Jansonnie stressed that the actuator glitch was not the same transmission issue that afflicted Peugeot at the 2022 Bahrain WEC round, the last of the three events it contested last year, nor at the Prologue pre-season WEC test the weekend ahead of the 1000 Miles.

The problem was solved on #94 shared by Loic Duval, Nico Muller and Gustavo Menezes with the loss of 21 minutes, while the sister car driven by Paul di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne and Mikkel Jensen lost the same amount of time with a trip back to the garage.

An ignition problem for #93 in the final hour, which also cost the car 20 minutes in the pits, meant it finished 31st and ninth in the Hypercar class at the end of the race lasting eight hours.

The #94 car was unclassified after spending a further three hours in the pits with a hybrid system issue.

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Müller

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Müller

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“We had an alarm on the car,” explained Jansonnie. “Given that we had nothing to fight for we wanted to identify the problem and be 100% sure the car was safe to run on track with our drivers inside.”

The best Peugeot time during the race was 2.3s off Sebastien Buemi’s fastest race lap in the second-place Toyota GR010 HYBRID.

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Jansonnie suggested Peugeot never optimised the 9X8 on the bumps of the Sebring International Raceway, which it experienced for the first time during the Prologue.

“The main issue was the set-up on the bumps,” he said. “This track is magnifying some issues we have had since the beginning and we need to work on this.”

Peugeot’s next major test, an endurance run, is scheduled for Paul Ricard in 10 days’ time.

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