With the new 908 LMP1, Peugeot hopes to beat Audi this time at Le Mans. And since it’s going to compete with the magnificent Audi R18, they made sure the 908 is fully armed with the latest technologies.
Peugeot 908 is a closed cockpit car, with four identical wheels, and is powered by a 550 horsepower, 3.7-litre V8 HDi FAP diesel engine. It features the shark’s fin engine-cover too. Even some of Formula 1 teams use this aerodynamic thingy!
Like all closed cabin LMP1 cars, the 908 too looks like a vicious insect, but it has a very cool livery. If the cars were qualified based on the looks and not performance, it would be right up there somewhere! Peugeot 908 is a good race car with an efficient diesel engine, but it’s going to face tough competition. Audi R18 is the one they fear most, but you should also take Aston Martin into account, they’ve prepared a superb car too.
“We have chosen 908 as the name of the new car in order to build on the wave of success with which it is associated,” said Peugeot’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Xavier Peugeot in reference to the success achieved in the winning the title in the 2007 Le Mans Series, the one-two finish at Le Mans in 2009 and the inaugural International Le Mans Cup crown in 2010.
“At the same time, this car fits perfectly with the brand’s modern calling. It mirrors the modernity that is dialled into the 408, which is in the process of being launched in Latin America, the 508, which is beginning to arrive in the dealerships, and the new 308, about which we will be going into a little further detail over the coming days. It also echoes the modernity expressed by our first ever diesel hybrid model, the 3008 HYbrid4. At Peugeot, we have always sought to associate our commitment to motorsport with the real world and with our model range. The name 908 consequently stood out as the obvious choice.
“The regulations have evolved a great deal but we didn’t start from a clean sheet,” said Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport’s Technical Director. “The experience we have gained over the past four years helped to steer the decision-making process and our technical choices, although the only component which has been carried over at the end of the day is the windscreen wiper! One of the principal difficulties we faced was having to design an all-new car while continuing to race another at the same time. We also needed to set ourselves sound objectives with a view to obtaining the best possible package with regard to engine performance, aerodynamics and weight distribution. We will only find out how successful we have been when we start racing the new car.”
“We knew from previous testing work that there is little significant difference between open and closed-cockpit cars in terms of their aerodynamic performance,” Famin. “At the same time, despite the added constraints they bring when working on them at races, closed-cockpit cars provide additional safety for the drivers. We therefore decided to stay with the same solution.
“We have also made full of our experience with the V12. We ultimately decided to opt for a turbocharged diesel V8, the characteristics of which are very similar to those of the V12. The angle of the ‘vee’ is 90 degrees – compared with 100 degrees in the case of the V12 – for balance reasons. The cubic capacity is 3.7 litres and the new V8 HDi FAP boasts peak power of 550hp. We ran it for the first time on the dyno on January 25, 2010.
“Given the big reduction in engine power resulting from the 2011 regulations – a fall of approximately 150hp – we had to take a fresh look at the trade-off between aerodynamics, drag and downforce. The latter has been significantly reduced in order to maintain a reasonably high top speed.
“Today’s LMP cars have a shortcoming with regard to front-end road holding performance. The logical way to cure this was to increase the size of the contact patch between the tyres and the track, which entailed running bigger front wheels, within the limits specified by the regulations. This aspect of the car’s development was carried out in close collaboration with our partner Michelin.”