FIA WEC

Peugeot Commits to Hypercar Concept for 2022 WEC/Le Mans Return

3 Mins read
Credit: Peugeot Sport

Peugeot Sport will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2022 after confirming its intention to run in the new Hypercar class with its new 508 model.

In association with their long-term partners TOTAL, Peugeot will bring its four-wheel drive, 500kW 508 to the racetrack, with Jean Philippe Imparato, the brand CEO of Peugeot, delighted to see the marque make a return to endurance racing.

Imparato says Peugeot are in the process of changing its identity as it switches to focus more onto hybrid and electric technologies, and the 508 will allow them to showcase this on a global scale.

“This category unites our entire company and all of our entities, with features and technologies similar to those of our production cars,” said Imparato.  “Through this commitment, PEUGEOT is opening a new register, that of neo performance.

“We are coming back to endurance racing because we have the opportunity to work the sport in a different way, with the hybridization of gas and electricity. PEUGEOT Sport is changing its identity and launching its label of electrified high- performance vehicles; PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED with its first 508 model: 360 horsepower, 4-wheel drive and 46g of C02.

“This endurance program allows us to integrate ourselves fully into the transition of energies.”

Imparato says Le Mans is the ‘holy grail of the automobile world’, so it is great that the Peugeot name will return to the circuit in two years time, with the aim in adding a fourth overall victory to their tally.

“Le Mans is the holy grail of the automobile world,” said Imparato. “It is the race who determines its winner.

“For us, this represents 3 victories but also the endless sweat, tears and joy and an incredible team spirit with TOTAL, with whom we celebrate this year, 25 years of collaboration.”

Credit: Peugeot Sport

Peugeot celebrate twenty-five years of partnership with TOTAL in 2020, and Philippe Montantême, the Strategy/Marketing & Research Director at TOTAL, says the 508 project offers a lot of potential for both parties.

“We mark 25 years of close collaboration between PEUGEOT and TOTAL but also of strong involvement in motorsport,” said Montantême. “Competition, firmly embedded in our DNA, represents a real technical on-hands workshop for our respective brands.

“It is in these workshops that we can work together, in search of perpetual performance and efficiency, in order to share the best solutions and products from high-level sport to our final customers. The “Le Mans Hypercar” project provides us today possibilities for joint development on the entire energy system of the car; on the efficiency of our fuels – for all the competitors, as the exclusive supplier- or for the lube, specifically designed for hybrid vehicles.

“It will also allow TOTAL and SAFT to study new battery solutions alongside PEUGEOT. TOTAL is now a multi-energy company that answers to all mobility demands while maintaining itself as a pioneer. The “Le Mans Hypercar” embodies this perfectly.”

“We still have several steps left before our debut in endurance in 2022” – Olivier Jansonnie

Olivier Jansonnie, the Technical Director of the Peugeot WEC programme, says the 508 will be longer and wider than a LMP1 car, and it will be developed with the aid of a 1:1 scale wind tunnel.  He admits, however, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome before the team makes its track debut in 2022.

“The car will be 4-wheel drive, equipped- as required by the regulations – with an electric motor and a maximum power of 200 kW on the front axle,” said Jansonnie.  “The TOTAL power level will be identical to that of a 100% thermal 2-wheel drive car (500kW or approx. 680hp) that will be distributed between the 2 axles. In comparison with what we currently know in LMP1, the car will be heavier so as to be compatible with road vehicles. It will also be longer and wider.

“This regulation is also different because it incorporates a performance balance (BoP: Balance of Performance). It certainly sets limits, but also allows room for many technical possibilities in our development, specifically on the general shape, as long as a certain overall aerodynamic efficiency is not exceeded. This will be measured in a 1:1 scale wind tunnel and which will be part of the BOP.

“To this date, we have confirmed part of the aerodynamic concept, the engine framework has been decided and we have chosen the functionality of the hybrid system and its fundamental design. We still have several steps left before our debut in endurance in 2022, in studies, the production of prototypes and finally, affirmation on the bench and on the track.”

Credit: Peugeot Sport
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