Peugeot is “ready to take on the next challenge” of its LMH program by making its Hypercar class debut at Monza, off the back of a 36-hour test that saw the hybrid-powered 9X8 surpass 15,000 kilometers (9320 miles) in total.
The French manufacturer is entering two Peugeot 9X8s into the six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship round in Italy where it will join Toyota, Glickenhaus and Alpine in an expanded top category field.
Peugeot recently rounded off its pre-debut test program by reaching its mileage target during an “intense” continuous endurance run at Aragon in Spain with both race crews.
It also spent the last few weeks performing simulator tests to prepare specifically for Monza, utilizing its in-house facility at Versailles-Satory.
The team expects Monza to be a “learning weekend” according to Loic Duval, who is sharing the No. 94 Peugeot with Gustavo Menezes and James Rossiter.
Paul di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne and Mikkel Jensen will drive the sister No. 93 car.
“As a team, we have worked tirelessly to develop and prepare this car for racing, and the most recent test – a full-scale endurance simulation at Aragon – was particularly intense,” said Duval.
“For us, Monza is very much a learning weekend. We are only just beginning to work together as a team in race mode, both from a driving crew perspective and in terms of the engineers, mechanics and whole Peugeot Sport operation.
“Following the journey we have all traveled together this far, to finally be going racing is immensely motivating for us all.”
Peugeot’s WEC technical director Olivier Jansonnie said that the manufacturer will tackle Monza with a “humble yet confident approach” as it applies technology that has been heavily developed in the background into an open, competitive scenario.
“Following an extensive and necessary period of testing and development, covering thousands of kilometers at a number of different circuits, the Peugeot 9X8, its drivers and the team are now ready to take on the next challenge,” Jansonnie said.
“[The challenge includes] managing the exacting requirements and demands of a full race weekend in direct competition with our rivals, while learning about the behavior of our car in traffic and how to handle the different safety procedures.
“Our strategy for Monza is very simple: to give the best of ourselves at all times, with a humble yet confident approach.
“Our objective is clear – to learn as much as possible about every aspect of the 9X8 in a competitive environment.
“It goes without saying that we are keen to see how we compare with the other teams and cars, but above all we are looking forward to gathering the kind of data and information that can only be gleaned by going racing.”
The Peugeot 9X8 powertrain consists of a 2.6-liter twin-turbo V6 internal combustion engine, a 200 kW front axle electric motor and a 900-volt battery developed by Saft.
It underwent its first rollout in December 2021 and has since visited several European circuits on a thorough testing program including Aragon, Barcelona and Portimao.
Peugeot skipped the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month as it completed the final stages of development and track running before locking in the car’s five-year homologation.
Jean-Marc Finot, the director of Stellantis Motorsport, said that the manufacturer is “realistic” about its competitiveness heading into the Monza weekend with a new car.
“The Peugeot 9X8’s competitive debut marks the culmination of the first stage of our mission,” he reflected.
“We have built a team and an LMH Hypercar based entirely upon Team Peugeot TotalEnergies’ cutting-edge technology and expertise, in order to tackle both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
“Monza represents the beginning of a new era in endurance racing for Peugeot Sport and our objective is to fight for victories while demonstrating the excellence of Peugeot’s electrification technology.
“In Italy this weekend, we will be taking on a field of competitors who have extensive experience in the category, so we remain realistic about the challenge we face, but we are driven by real determination, enthusiasm and ambition.”