An exciting challenge, in three acts
Three months after June's Le Mans 24 Hours, Team Peugeot Total is looking forward to contesting the newly-created Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), the first round of which will be hosted by Silverstone. Despite the anticipated fierce competition, the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP is hungry for victory...
Act 1: 1000km of Silverstone
In characteristically visionary and conquering fashion, Peugeot has picked up the gauntlet thrown down by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) with the creation an international endurance championship. The inaugural series features a three-round calendar: in Europe, the United States (Petit Le Mans / October 1-2) and China (Zhuhai / November 6-7). These three races will provide a glimpse of the 2011 championship which will incorporate the Le Mans 24 Hours.
In addition to kicking off the ILMC, Silverstone also stands out as the final round of this year's Le Mans Series. Team Peugeot Total has entered a single factory 908 HDi FAP (No.1) which will be in the hands of the squad's two local residents: British driver Anthony Davidson and Frenchman Nicolas Minassian, both of whom live a short distance from the circuit. Nicolas will be tasked with qualifying the car, while Anthony will start the race. "Silverstone is where I first got to drive a racing car, and I've taken a number of wins there in different categories," relates the Briton. "I can't wait to drive the Peugeot here, and it would be great to win in front of a home crowd!"
That aim is shared by Team Peugeot Total which will be eager to get its Manufacturers' points score off the ground from the outset. Peugeot will also be able to count on the support of the Team Oreca-run 908 HDi FAP which will be challenging for the Le Mans Series title, while factory Peugeot Sport driver Stephane Sarrazin will be in the hunt for his second LMS Drivers' crown after claiming a first title in 2007.
Three questions to Olivier Quesnel (Director, Peugeot Sport)
Why has Team Peugeot Total decided to contest the 2010 ILMC?
"As a car manufacturer, we were keen on the organisation of an international endurance racing championship to enable us to showcase our technologies and expertise on a world stage, and more particularly in those countries that are important for our markets. The ACO heard our call and has laid the first building blocks for what promises to be a great series, with three races in 2010. Along with the regulations announced for 2011, I believe it is the beginning of a new age for endurance racing. We had a duty to contest the new championship and we will do everything in our power to give Peugeot the best chance of winning on each of the three continents visited by this inaugural series."
Why have you only entered one factory Peugeot 908 HDi FAP for the race at Silverstone?
"Our entry will be backed up by the Team Oreca-run Peugeot 908 HDi FAP which will also be eligible to score ILMC points for Peugeot. At the same time, the team will be challenging for the LMS title, and we wish them the best of luck on that front. There will consequently be two top Peugeots capable of scoring ILMC Manufacturer points at Silverstone, and that can only be good for us. As for our drivers, entering our 'locally'-based squad members Nicolas Minassian and Anthony Davidson was an obvious call. We have tried to share the different drives as equitably as possible among our nine drivers, in whom may I remind you we have renewed our confidence for 2011."
What evolutions will the 908 HDi FAP run for these three races?
"We won't have any real evolutions; they are more adaptations. We will run the same high-downforce aerodynamic package we used at Spa and Sebring, and we have reverted to steel con-rods for the engine."
Peugeot in the United Kingdom
The British new car market is one of Europe's biggest, with total sales expected to amount to two million in 2010.
Between January and July, 2010, the market saw growth of 15 per cent over the same period in 2009. Peugeot's
market share for the period was 5.42 per cent, which is equivalent to 67,448 vehicles. Peugeot ranks as the fourth
best-selling carmaker, and is the best-selling French brand.
The best-selling models between January and July, 2010, were:
- 207 (26,215 units)
- 308 (15,039 units)
- 107 (9,606 units)
- 3008 (7,541 units)
- 5008 (2,739 units)
The three new models we launched in the UK this year (3008, 5008 and RCZ) benefited from good reviews in the British press. The 3008 and 5008 have both exceeded their sales objectives, while the RCZ which was introduced in May has already reached 90 per cent of its target (2,600 units). Meanwhile, the British LCV market expanded by 16 per cent between January and July, 2010. Peugeot's LCV sales grew by 31 per cent, with Partner and Bipper accounting for 70 per cent of sales.