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Peugeot reveals revised 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar with rear wing

Peugeot has revealed the heavily-revised 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar complete with a rear wing that will carry its hopes in the World Endurance Championship from next month’s Imola round.

Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8

Photo by: Peugeot Sport

First images of a car known as the 9X8 2024 in a new livery reveal a conventional, if low-line rear wing on a car that retains the familiar look of the original version, which entered competition in the final three races of the 2022 season.

The addition of the wing, which hadn’t been previously confirmed by Peugeot, follows the French manufacturer’s decision to abandon the equal width front and rear tyres of the mk1 car.

Peugeot’s 9X8 now runs 29cm tyres at the front and 34cm at the rear like all its competitors in the WEC’s Hypercar class rather than the 31/31 of before.

The adoption of the revised tyre dimensions has forced Peugeot to undertake a massive overhaul of the avant-garde concept of its LMH.

The 31/31 tyres allowed Peugeot to go for a 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, while the freedoms in the LMH rulebook meant it could generate most of the car’s downforce from the underfloor.

Combined, they allowed it do away with the need for a conventional rear wing.

Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8

Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8

Photo by: Peugeot Sport

The weight bias of the car has now been shifted to the rear and more downforce comes from the upper body surfaces, including the rear wing.

Peugeot Sport technical director Olivier Jansonnie explained that his design team had “touched 90-95% of the surfaces of the car”.

“From the public’s standpoint it looks very similar to the previous car, the car looks the same, just an add-on of a rear wing,” he said.

“It was one of the challenges, one of the constraints we had was that we wanted to keep the overall look of the car.

“It is interesting that you can achieve quite a substantially different aero concept with surfaces that are changed but all looking very the same.”

The 9X8 2024 retains the monocoque and the crash structures of the original.

Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8

Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8

Photo by: Peugeot Sport

That was important, said Jansonnie, in order for Peugeot to avoid having to do another crash test as part of the homologation.

“Keeping the rear [crash structure] was actually a challenge with the new rear wing; obviously the rear end is quite different,” he said. “That was important for us from a schedule standpoint.”

The rearward shift in weight distribution has allowed Peugeot to undertake revisions to the car’s 2.6-litre twin-turbo V6 and its seven-speed gearbox in the name of reliability.

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Jansonnie revealed that the decision to undertake a massive overhaul of the 9X8, which includes invoking some of the evo joker performance upgrades allowed to LMH and LMDh machinery, was taken last March after the 2023 Sebring 1000 Miles season-opener.

It started testing a mule car on the new tyres last summer, but didn’t go public with its plans until the last round of the series at Bahrain in November.

Jansonnie explained that the motivation to overhaul a car that has finished no better than third since Peugeot’s return to top-flight sportscar racing was to ensure the marque was less reliant on the Balance of Performance.

Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8

Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8

Photo by: Peugeot Sport

“The main factor for the decision to change the car was to rely less on the BoP, which we cannot control,” he said.

Peugeot wanted to “do something that is putting us much closer in terms of car concept to our competition, so we can be in the ballpark of performance regardless of what the BoP is doing”.

Peugeot has not revealed how many of the five evo joker performance upgrades it is allowed over the lifecycle of the 9X8 in the revisions for 2024.

Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8

Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8

Photo by: Peugeot Sport

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