Peugeot 9×8 WEC racer installs a rear wing and a pack-of-lions livery

After France’s ACO racing organizing body created new rules for the Hypercar class in World Endurance Racing, manufacturers like Toyota, Glickenhaus, and eventually Cadillac, Ferrari, and Porsche created traditional-looking top-class race cars. Peugeot did not, debuting its 9×8 single-seater with an unmistakable headlight signature and an unmistakable rear end that went without a wing, its concept focused on ground-effects aero instead of silhouette aero. The aft aero consideration was a small airfoil between two vertical strakes hanging off the back of the bodywork, its location making it more like a long ducktail spoiler or Gurney flap. With two years of racing in the World Endurance Championship completed, it appears the consensus at Peugeot Sport HQ is that a more traditional approach is needed; the 9×8 scored points, but outside of a third-place finish in Monza last year, usually finished toward the back of the class. The new 9×8 for the 2024 WEC season returns to the old ways of a rear wing.

Peugeot Sport Technical Director Olivia Jansonnie said rule changes at the beginning of the 2022 season put Peugeot at a disadvantage with Balance of Performance (BOP) rules. On the new car, in the works since early 2023, “The idea was therefore to go back to a car design that is similar that of our rivals car design,” he said, “so that it would then be given equivalent treatment by the BOP.” But he also stressed that the new car is a heavily upgraded version of last year’s 9×8, not a brand new car. Adding a rear wing lead engineers to rework 90% of the bodywork and change the weight balance. The new regulations encouraged a switch to staggered tires instead of the 310-mm rubber previously used all around. And engineers took steps to improve engine and gearbox reliability. 

As on the last car, Peugeot Sport worked with Peugeot Design on a new livery in Peugeot Sport’s various colors, described as “black, grey, white and kryptonite.” The scheme puts the brand’s lion icon all over, in different sizes, symbolizing a pack of lions that “conveys the sense of collective that reflects the values of Endurance racing perfectly.” It can take a second to make out the heads because they’re bigger than you’d expect, but start by looking at the dark gray graphics, the icons are easier to see. 

After entering the previous 9×8 in the 2024 WEC season’s first race in Qatar, the updated 9×8 enters the fray at the 6 Hours of Imola on April 21.

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