Peugeot announces a return to endurance racing at Le Mans for 2022 in the new Hypercar class. Given the rule to produce at least 25 road-going vehicles using the racing powerplant, this means the motoring world can look forward to seeing a French high-performance machine on the street, in addition to the track.
The new Peugeot hypercar doesn't yet have an official name. The company is developing the vehicle in-house at its motorsport headquarters in Paris. "To this date, we have confirmed part of the aerodynamic concept, the engine framework has been decided and we have chosen the functionality of the hybrid system and its fundamental design," Olivier Jansonnie, Technical Director of the Peugeot Sport WEC program, said in the announcement.
Gallery: Peugeot Sport Hypercar
Peugeot says that it's crafting the shape of the hypercar in the wind tunnel, which suggests a form-follows-function design ethos. The released images show a low-slung vehicle with prominent fenders. A fin runs down the back. Three vertical headlights and taillights contribute to a cohesive look at the front and rear.
There still aren't many mechanical details available about the Peugeot hypercar. The company's announcement says that the vehicle has 671 hp (500 kW). Of this, the rules stipulate that there be an electrically driven front axle with an output of 268 horsepower (200 kilowatts).
In terms of the road car, the regulations stipulate that a company needs to produce 25 production vehicles using the same power unit as the racer within two years of its competitive debut. Although, it doesn't need to be the exact same car as the one on track.
The availability of the Peugeot hypercar is still a mystery. However, because the brand is now part of the auto corporation Stellantis with FCA, the possibility at least exists for the company to sell the road-legal vehicle with this powertrain in the United States.
PEUGEOT AND TOTAL DEVELOP A “LE MANS HYPERCAR”
As a part of the 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, PEUGEOT and TOTAL are officially kicking off their Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) project. A new regulation which foreshadows a new era for the top tier endurance category, one which embodies the energizing transition of the two companies.
“Le Mans is the holy grail of the automobile world, says Jean Philippe IMPARATO, PEUGEOT brand CEO. It is the race who determines its winner. For us, this represents 3 victories but also the endless sweat, tears and joy and an incredible team spirit with TOTAL, with whom we celebrate this year, 25 years of collaboration.
The choice of the LMH category was dictated by several criteria, one being that of a certain aerodynamic freedom. This makes it possible to incorporate, with the support of PEUGEOT Design, the aesthetic detail of the brand. This collaboration has already started and makes it possible, in the event of this 24 Hours of Le Mans 2020, to draft sketches and reveal the first conceptions of design and incarnate the fundamental required elements, particularly in terms of dimensions.
PEUGEOT, in association with TOTAL, has therefore begun the development of the electric hybrid hypercar, whose iconic design will declare “Neo Performance”. It will reach 500 kW power and be 4-wheel drive.
After having launched the various phases of studies for the general structure, the aerodynamic concept and the choice of engine architecture, comes the final decision of the electrical framework, and then that of the conception of the hybrid traction chain. All of the PEUGEOT Sport technical departments are involved in these development phases.
PEUGEOT Sport therefore taking a new turn towards reinforced energy, reinforced by the launch of its PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED hybrid high-performance road line, led by the new PEUGEOT 508.
Jean-Philippe Imparato, PEUGEOT brand CEO
“This category unites our entire company and all of our entities, with features and technologies similar to those of our production cars. Through this commitment, PEUGEOT is opening a new register, that of neo performance. We are coming back to endurance racing because we have the opportunity to work the sport in a different way, with the hybridization of gas and electricity. PEUGEOT Sport is changing its identity and launching its label of electrified high- performance vehicles; PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED with its first 508 model: 360
horsepower, 4-wheel drive and 46g of C02. This endurance program allows us to integrate ourselves fully into the transition of energies.”
Philippe Montanteme, TOTAL Strategy/Marketing & Research Director:
“We mark 25 years of close collaboration between PEUGEOT and TOTAL but also of strong involvement in motorsport. Competition, firmly embedded in our DNA, represents a real technical on-hands workshop for our respective brands. It is in these workshops that we can work together, in search of perpetual performance and efficiency, in order to share the best solutions and products from high-level sport to our final customers. The “Le Mans Hypercar” project provides us today possibilities for joint development on the entire energy system of the car; on the efficiency of our fuels - for all the competitors, as the exclusive supplier- or for the lube, specifically designed for hybrid vehicles. It will also allow TOTAL and SAFT to study new battery solutions alongside PEUGEOT. TOTAL is now a multi-energy company that answers to all mobility demands while maintaining itself as a pioneer. The “Le Mans Hypercar” embodies this perfectly.
Olivier Jansonnie, Technical Director PEUGEOT Sport WEC program:
«The car will be 4-wheel drive, equipped- as required by the regulations – with an electric motor and a maximum power of 200 kW on the front axle. The TOTAL power level will be identical to that of a 100% thermal 2-wheel drive car (500kW or approx. 680hp) that will be distributed between the 2 axles. In comparison with what we currently know in LMP1, the car will be heavier so as to be compatible with road vehicles. It will also be longer (5m ald 4.65m) and wider (2m ald 1m90).
This regulation is also different because it incorporates a performance balance (BoP: Balance of Performance). It certainly sets limits, but also allows room for many technical possibilities in our development, specifically on the general shape, as long as a certain overall aerodynamic efficiency is not exceeded. This will be measured in a 1:1 scale wind tunnel and which will be part of the BOP.
To this date, we have confirmed part of the aerodynamic concept, the engine framework has been decided and we have chosen the functionality of the hybrid system and its fundamental design. We still have several steps left before our debut in endurance in 2022, in studies, the production of prototypes and finally, affirmation on the bench and on the track.
Matthias Hossann, PEUGEOT Design Director:
“The new Le Mans Hypercar category offers an unprecedented and historical opportunity for sports and design teams to collaborate. The regulations answer fully to PEUGEOTs need and appetite to embody its vision for the future in its next competition car: that of electric neo- performance.
The look of the vehicles will no longer only be the result of the wind tunnel sessions, we will have a dedicated space to create a unique, iconic product, combining performance and expressiveness. We intend to make the most of the wiggle room offered and we are very excited about this project! We are currently in the pre-project stage, that of studies and conception.
We have discussed different regulation possibilities with the PEUGEOT Sport teams to assure that we are fully aware of that is allowed and what is not. The rest of the project will be carried out in close collaboration between the two teams.
These sketches are the first design drafts intended to help us identify the important segments on which we should focus on. The three claw marks and the colours are symbols that we wish to produce on our hypercar. Our signature found in the light impressions are part of the strong identity emblems present on our production vehicles and that we wish to reproduce in the race.