Connect with us


Peugeot: We Need Wins Soon to Justify 9X8 Program

Peugeot not content to be perennial midfielder with new 9X8, says CEO Linda Jackson…

Photo: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

Peugeot CEO Linda Jackson has stressed the importance of the French brand starting to contend for FIA World Endurance Championship wins in the near future with its 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar in order to justify its presence in the series.

Jackson made the remarks during a visit to the WEC paddock for this month’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second outing for the revised 9X8 2024 that was unveiled in March and made its race debut at Imola.

Peugeot kicked off the season in Qatar contending for a podium finish in what was the last outing for the previous ‘wingless’ iteration of the car, but has struggled for performance since then, scoring a best finish of the year so far of ninth at Imola.

Jackson made it clear that, having gone through the process of completely reworking the 9X8, Peugeot expects to see that effort translate into solid results and is not content being part of an emerging “midfield” of Hypercar teams.

“It’s clear that we have done this to win, so now we need to show performance,” Jackson told reporters at Spa.

“I am a businesswoman. I decided to put Peugeot in this championship for its fame. If we win, it is great for the brand’s image.

“The team is at the top in terms of efficiency. It’s a real team now, with the drivers in our third season. For the fans, for us, for the return on investment, to be honest, we need to win something. It’s time to deliver.

“We can’t continue in a sport like this for ten years without winning. It’s a significant investment. After three years, we need to have results.

“We redeveloped the car this year. At the beginning of the third season, fourth season, etc., we need to have results.

“We feel a sort of midfield being created in the rankings, with perhaps three teams dominating. And behind, it’s getting quite complicated.

“If we continue like this, six years, seven years without winning, what’s the reason for doing that? We are here to win, right?”

Asked whether Peugeot had seen a return on investment in the two years since its WEC debut, Jackson highlighted the fact that the brand has seen a trend of selling more cars around the time of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

“There is a link with sales, there is a link with the image, and that’s why we chose at the beginning to enter this sport,” she said.

“The result is not just the sporting result, it’s the return on investment. So that’s very important for us, and yes, that’s a success.

“Every month, we have a sales curve of the brand that repeats itself, and we compare it to other brands in the [Stellantis] group, and we saw that at the time of [Le Mans] last year, there’s a very big emotional factor.

“The curve took off slightly from the first practice session on Wednesday evening. And it went up all weekend. That’s why Le Mans is a good time for us. And at the end of June, it came back to the normal curve. Those were additional sales.”

Stellantis Motorsport boss Jean-Marc Finot clarified that the Peugeot WEC program is currently confirmed through 2026.

Finot Makes Peugeot’s BoP Frustrations Clear

Speaking further about the new 9X8’s performance, Finot highlighted how much closer to pole position the best of the Peugeots was at Spa compared to the 2023 running of the race despite a less favorable Balance of Performance.

While manufacturers are forbidden from directly commenting on the BoP by the WEC’s sporting regulations, the Frenchman made it clear he felt Peugeot would be capable of contending at the front of the field with the weight and power it had last season.

“From what we see in Spa, we’re one second behind pole position,” said Finot. “Last year we were 2.4 seconds behind. There’s already a good gain.

“That’s despite the fact that our car is 23 kg heavier and has 8 kW less power than last year. So, in fact, if we add that up, it’s almost the 2.4 seconds.”

Asked for his thoughts on the BoP, Finot replied: “I am an engineer, so I have the right to talk about kilos and kilowatts.

“If we look at the race in Qatar, the 9X8 was roughly on the same pace as the JOTA Porsches, slightly slower. At Imola, we were slightly faster.

“Compared to them, between Qatar and Imola, we gained 46 kg and we lost 13 kW.

“That gives you an idea of what the 2024 car brings compared to the 2023 one.”

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

Click to comment

More in FIA WEC