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Peugeot 9X8 to Debut at Monza; Rossiter Joins Race Lineup

Peugeot confirms Monza as venue for 9X8’s debut, with Rossiter joining race lineup…

Photo: Peugeot

The Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar will make its FIA World Endurance Championship race debut at the 6 Hours of Monza in July, the manufacturer has confirmed.

Peugeot is missing next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as it focuses on the final stages of validating and homologating its hybrid-powered prototype but will join the WEC grid four weeks later in Italy.

Two cars look set to compete at Monza, with Stellantis Head of Motorsport Jean-Marc Finot stating that James Rossiter will form part of a six-man driver lineup.

“James Rossiter will be the sixth driver and he will race at Monza with the Peugeot team,” Finot declared.

Rossiter effectively replaces Kevin Magnussen who left the Peugeot program in March due to his late Formula 1 call-up from Haas.

The British driver joins Paul di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne, Gustavo Menezes, Loic Duval and Mikkel Jensen in the roster, with lineup combinations yet to be confirmed.

During Friday’s online presentation of the Peugeot 9X8, the names of Rossiter, Duval and di Resta were shown together on the side of the No. 93 car.

A key member of Peugeot’s LMH simulator and track testing work, Rossiter is set for his first WEC outing since the 2018 round at Shanghai International Circuit which he contested with ByKolles Racing in the LMP1 class.

It is unclear if his appointment to the race lineup has been made on a full-time basis.

“Regarding Monza, this is incredibly exciting for me,” Rossiter said.

“To be part of the project from day one is really magical, so to get the opportunity to race in Monza with all the crew and drivers is really special.”

Monza will mark Peugeot’s first appearance at the top level of endurance racing since the finale of the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup season at Zhuhai.

Finot described the call to miss Le Mans as “not an easy decision” but said the event’s mid-June date was always going to be tough considering Peugeot’s planned development timeline.

“It was difficult for the team because everyone would have loved to be at Le Mans this year,” he said.

“At the beginning of the program, the season used to start in September and finish at Le Mans.

“The calendar has been advanced [since then] so starting at the beginning of this season would have been very early, and even for Le Mans.

“With the freezing of the car’s design as soon as it is homologated, it would have been very tough to have the expected level of reliability and performance. It was not unreasonable that we made this decision, but just a few weeks after Le Mans, we will be there.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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