The Peugeot 905 Still Sounds Better Than Any Le Mans Prototype Racing Today

There was a brief moment in the early 1990s when all of the major manufacturers building prototype cars to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans realized that the cost of their programs were about the same as what it cost to run a Formula 1 team, only F1 had much more air time and promotion in it. Teams quickly ditched endurance racing, and the Sportscar World Championship dissolved. But just before that moment, things were extremely tight.

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This is the Peugeot 905, one of the evolutions of the 905 as a program, but not its final (unraced) form. It comes from a time when Peugeot was very different that it is today. You see, today, Peugeot makes a bunch of boring midsize and compact family cars. In the early 1990s, Peugeot made a bunch of boring midsize and compact family cars, and also a prototype Le Mans program with a naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V10 in the middle of it.

This was basically an endurance-spec F1 engine, and it has the howl to match, as you can tell from this recent video of one running around Monza. I do not know why it is running around Monza. If I had a 905, though, I would do everything in my power to be in that 905, running around Monza at any and all times.

This was an era of fast cars in endurance racing, with super high downforce packages available through those gigantic wings. A Toyota prototype of this era famously broke a driver’s ribs during cornering.

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The 905 did win at Le Mans, taking the overall victory back-to-back in 1992 and ‘93. It was after that when Peugeot went to suppling engines in F1, and I went back to not caring about it. The World Sportscar Championship had officially dissolved in ‘92, having been run since the 1950s.

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But for now enjoy this wonderful screaming demon, complete with biplane wings and a carbon chassis courtesy of Dassault. Yes, the one that makes the planes.

I do love the current era of hybrid cars, and I eagerly await the upcoming GT1-style hypercars, but nothing sounds even remotely close to this good, and hasn’t since Toyota dropped its V8 hammer.

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About the author

Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.