Peugeot is returning to Le Mans next year with this, the new 9X8 Hypercar that will compete in the French classic race.
However, before its appearance at Le Mans in 2023, the 9X8 will make its competition debut at the Six Hours of Monza on 10 July – the fourth round of the World Endurance Championship.
These images show the 9X8 will stay true to its development concept, with the biggest shock being the omission of a rear wing. Technical director Olivier Jansonnie previously commented on the lack of a wing, saying “our calculations and wind-tunnel work have confirmed the pertinence of our decision to run without a rear wing.”
Despite the extreme nature of the 9X8, there are some design elements taken from road-going Peugeots. There’s the familiar ‘three-claw’ headlight signature and inside the French firm has tried to replicate the look of the Peugeot ‘i-Cockpit’ dashboard layout – an area of racing cars which until now tended to be purely functional rather than deliberately styled.
The 9X8 is a successor to both the 905 of the early nineties and 908 of the late 2000s, both of which won at Le Mans.
Commenting on the car’s distinctive styling, Peugeot design director Matthias Hossan said: “Since the 9X8 is a Peugeot, the original sketch that steered our work portrayed a big cat ready to pounce – a stance that we have suggested by the slightly forward-tilting cockpit. The overall lines express the brand’s styling cues, while its sleek, racy, elegant forms inspire emotion and dynamism.”
Under the bodywork, the 9X8 is powered by a rear-mid-mounted, 2.6-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, which produces 500kW, combined with a 213kW electric motor mounted on the front axle. The combustion engine drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed sequential gearbox.
Peugeot’s Hypercar driving squad, which was announced in late 2020, consists of Paul di Resta, Loic Duval, Mikkel Jensen, James Rossiter (replacing Kevin Magnussen who moved to Formula 1), Gustavo Menezes and Jean-Eric Vergne.
The 9X8 will be at Le Mans this year but only as a static display for fans to observe.