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Peugeot surprised by severity of WEC Balance of Performance hit

Peugeot believes it is in for a tough weekend at the Imola World Endurance Championship round as a result of the Balance of Performance its revised 9X8 has been given.

#93 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Mikkel Jensen, Nico Muller, Jean-Eric Vergne

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The French manufacturer has admitted surprise at the BoP for its Le Mans Hypercar, now known as the 9X8 2024, which will hit the track 31kg heavier and with 10kW (13bhp) less power than its predecessor did at the Qatar WEC season-opener in March.

The increase in minimum weight and the decrease in power for the Peugeot at this weekend’s Imola 6 Hours have come in the face of more a favourable BoP for all its competitors in the Hypercar class: weight has been decreased and power increased for the other eight car types.

“We had an adjustment and it is not easy, for sure,” said Olivier Jansonnie, technical director of the in-house Peugeot Sport squad.

“The BoP had to change, that was clear, but we were not expecting it to be that tough.

“We were a bit surprised, but in the end, they [rule makers the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest] have the information, and we have to trust the system and that they have done the right job.”

Asked if he thought the FIA and the ACO were taking a cautious approach on the Peugeot’s BoP for the first race of the updated 9X8, Jansonnie replied: “It is not being cautious.

“They act on what they see and then evaluate the performance of our car on the homologation.

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“Judging by that, we must have done a very good car.”

The revised BoP for the Peugeot follows a change in concept of the 9X8: equal width 31cm tyres front and rear have been abandoned in favour of the 29cm fronts and 34cm rears run by all the competition in Hypercar.

This has resulted in new aerodynamics, including the addition of a conventional rear wing, around the same monocoque and running gear of the original 9X8 that joined the WEC in mid-2022.

It is regarded as a new car by the rule makers for the purposes of the BoP because it has been rehomologated.

Peugeot’s new LMH has now completed 12-15,000km in testing since running for the first time at the end of last year over four endurance simulations at Paul Ricard (twice), Portimao and Aragon.

But Jansonnie conceded that his team still needed time to optimise the 9X8 2024.

“We have a lot to learn with this car,” he explained.

“I am not saying we are starting all over again, but there is a lot to learn on the set-up.”

Loic Duval, who shares the #94 Peugeot with Paul di Resta and Stoffel Vandoorne, admitted that the new car had yet to be fine-tuned in the same way as the original 9X8, which lost second position in the closing stages of the Qatar 1812Km when it ran out of fuel.

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

He pointed out that testing so far has been focused on endurance running ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours WEC round in June and not “digging into pure performance”.

Duval suggested that the mk1 9X8 was more or less maxed out in terms of performance and that “it will take a lot of work to operate this car at the level of the previous one at the end”.

“This we don’t still have and won’t have it, like tomorrow; it takes a little bit of time,” he added.

But he said the mk2 version is “a big, big step forward”.

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