Peugeot is doing it. The French manufacturer is actually going to race its new sports prototype racing car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans without a rear wing. Yesterday, Peugeot unveiled the competition-spec version of the Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar at Algarve International Circuit in Portimão, Portugal. Peugeot also confirmed that the 9X8 will makes its competitive debut at the 6 Hours of Monza in July.
Stellantis Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot said in a statement, “In presenting our new race car today, we are keeping the promise that we made last summer. The Peugeot’s 9X8 is effectively the physical embodiment of the concept we revealed back in July 2021.” Peugeot has undoubtedly fulfilled its end of the bargain. The all-wheel drive 9X8 completed over 6,200 miles across 25 test days powered by a 697-hp 2.6-liter bi-turbocharged V6 engine and a 200 kW (268 hp) electric motor. Though, all of the attention was on the car’s rear, and the hypercar still doesn’t have a rear wing like the concept renderings.
Racing without a rear wing at Le Mans intuitively makes sense when eighty-five percent of the lap around the Circuit de la Sarthe is at full throttle. Though, it will be interesting to see how the 9X8 performs at other FIA World Endurance Championship rounds where the downforce requirements are higher, like at Sebring International Raceway in Florida or Fuji Speedway in Japan.
While Peugeot will not be competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, the automaker will be present at the track with an exhibition in the circuit museum to celebrate the brand’s history at the endurance classic. The Allure-Le Mans exhibition opens today and will run until September. The spectators at this year’s race will be able to purchase new Peugeot Sport merchandise, as well as “Kryptonite” cocktails, in a dedicated section of the Fan Village. Peugeot might need kryptonite to beat Porsche’s new LMDh prototype next year.