Peugeot fielded two 9X8 cars in the ultra-futuristic Hyper Car category and ended up leading the pack for much of the race.
An incident in the early part of the morning saw one of the Peugeots knocked out for some time, leading to the highest-placing car finishing in ninth when the chequered flag fell. But this rather experimental car performed strongly throughout the race - so what did it have underneath? Let’s find out.
No rear wing
One of the biggest talking points of the Peugeot 9X8 was the lack of rear wing. Now nearly all vehicles in the Hypercar series adopt a rear wing to help with downforce, but that was something that the 9X8 did without for 2023’s race.
It’s something of a departure from the ‘big wing’ racers of old, but it’s a factor that Peugeot seems really committed to - so it’s likely we’ll see it on future racers, too.
Something which reflects a theme running through the wider Peugeot brand is the 9X8’s hybrid powertrain. It combines a V6 petrol engine with an electric motor mounted on the front axle and a battery which, when combined, delivers an incredible 670bhp.
Bear in mind that this car weighs just over a tonne and you can see how it’s got some serious performance to deliver.
Something that not many racers use is four-wheel-drive but, because of its hybrid setup, the 9X8 gets just that. It allows the car to deal well with changes in conditions while also ensuring that it can corner as quickly as possible.
The fitment of all-wheel-drive also means that the 9X8 can get more of its power down to the ground for more of the time, which allows it to ‘slingshot’ out of the corners.
A continuation of a legacy
Though the 9X8 might feature cutting-edge technology, it’s also a car which is firmly rooted in Peugeot racers of the past. The French firm has made a real stamp on Le Mans, with highlights including the 905, which saw huge success in 1998 with multiple endurance wins.
There was also the diesel-powered engine and a close-cockpit design which shunned the open-style versions that had previously been so popular.
An eye-catching livery
For Le Mans, Peugeot completely changed the exterior livery of the 9X8. While previously draped in a rather understated grey shade, its trip to France saw it finished in a really eye-catching blend of blues, reds and greens.
You might notice that the 9X8 also features the ‘claw’ daytime running lights that you get on cars like the new 408, which helps to tie it together with some of Peugeot’s road cars.