A look at Peugeot Sport’s WEC return weekend + photos


The long awaited Peugeot 9×8 came to the track for the FIA World Endurance Championship… It was a difficult weekend for them, not on the ultimate pace in qualifying (even with the 93 failing to set a time) and having some trouble in the race.

But the car is a radical design and it is the first time Peugeot Sport have been sportscar racing since the Global Financial Crisis. Expecting immediate success would be unwise, but are they happy with their weekend?

The debut was overseen by Peugeot CEO, Linda Jackson (and if you think she stands for failure, ask the Citroën WRC team) there are high expectations.

For the outright pace, the fastest car in qualifying was Gustavo Menezes with the fifth-quickest with a lap time of 1m37.253, some 1.8 seconds off pole.

The best lap in the race was 1:38.364, about 0.5 sec off their competitors. Interestingly, their top speed was quite a bit down, some 13km/h down on the Glickenhaus (best was 324 vs 311) and the Peugeot was more competitive in sectors two and three…

Undoubtedly a little way to go and next up is Fuji – Toyota’s home ground but can Peugeot challenge? And as for the team, what do they think of the weekend?

Olivier Jansonnie the Technical Director, Team Peugeot TotalEnergies always knew that coming to the first round was going to be an exercise of where they are against their competition. It is also particularly important to get the race miles in, in a race weekend scenario. Testing (they did about 15000km) is one thing, but nothing beats racing…

“The 6 Hours of Monza turned out to be a punishing race. We came here to learn and it effectively taught us a great deal. We were faced with numerous race-related problems that we couldn’t have replicated in testing, but we are reassured by the potential our car showed in free practice and during the race. We were on the pace but we are well aware of the areas where we need to improve. We had already planned a programme of tests over the coming weeks and they will give us a chance to address these issues in order to be ready for Fuji.”

Not the ideal debut for the 93 car but the drivers can still take some positives from the troubled weekend… Jean-Eric Vergne talks:

“There are positives to take away from Monza, especially our performance during free practice. The post-race debrief will be very useful as we look ahead to Fuji. The #94 car go the full distance. We needed all the data it could collect. The more racing laps we get under our belts, the more we will learn,, and that’s why we came to Monza.”

For the 94 they were able to make the finish, though with some time in the garage. Loic Duval confirms that it is quite important to get the race experience, with the cars in traffic, getting heat in the tyres and what not, again not things that come from testing…

“It was nice to reach the finish. Like the #93 car, we had problems, too, most of which were traffic related. Our intention was to go the distance and not throw everything away at the start. The first double stint went well. It was during the Full Course Yellow period that we saw we had trouble getting heat into our tyres. It’s good to see that now so that we can set to work right away to resolve it. We cannot match the level of rivals with 10 years of experience under their belts after just one race.”

Next up is Fuji…a couple months for the team to take this data and we are looking forward to seeing what they can do!

The RacerViews info

By Sam Tickell, photos by Paul Foster

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