Peugeot head to China and the 1000km of Zhuhai in commanding form after 1-2 finishes in both Britain and the US in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC).
The results at first Silverstone then Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta leave Peugeot Sport needing only and 11th place finish from either of the works 908 HDi FAP diesels to claim the title in the inaugural ILMC.
The team will field two of the coupes with an all-French driving quartet. Sebastien Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud will share the no.1 car with Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin in the no.2 entry.
“I was one of the first drivers to race at Zhuhai, back in 1995. I remember the track being very twisty, but it was a great fight!” said Bourdais of the 2.6 mile track. “I don't think our car will be in its element, and we could even come under pressure from the LMP2 runners. The important thing, however, will be to beat our main rival, and that promises to produce another close contest.”
Other drivers do not have Bourdais' experience at the track. Pagenaud says he has never so much as been to Asia before while Sarrazin has only driven the track via a video game.
“I don't see that as a handicap,” protests Sarrazin. “I am one of the drivers who has been onboard since the beginning of the 908 HDi FAP programme. Thanks to the team's incredible work, it's been a different experience each year and I've had some memorable moments with this car. It's a dream machine, certainly the best endurance car in the world and it will certainly have left an indelible mark on my career as a racing driver. It would be great to win one last time with the 908.”
The Zhuhai race will be the 908's final competitive outing with the works squad. “We hope to give [the 908] the end it deserves by winning at Zhuhai,” said Bruno Famin, the team's technical director. “Which would take its score to 19 victories from 28 races.”
“We know little about Zhuhai, apart from the fact that it calls for repeated acceleration and braking. It is very slow, too, in contrast to Le Mans for which the 908 HDi FAP was originally designed. The brakes and transmissions will be put to a tough test and both cars will run the same 'sprint' aerodynamic package we used at Silverstone and Road Atlanta. The most difficult thing during our preparations for this race was sourcing the information we needed to run the necessary simulation tests.”
“Whenever we race, our aim is obviously to win,” states Olivier Quesnel, the Director of Peugeot Sport. “For Peugeot Sport's first official visit to China, we will be hoping to wrap up the 2010 ILMC Manufacturers' title, but the taste of that will be even sweeter if we can combine it with a victory. That would allow us to round off what has been a particularly emotional 2010 season in style, and everyone in the team is ready for the battle.”