Spa: Peugeot preview

SPA... ON THE ROAD TO LE MANS Peugeot has chosen the ultra-fast circuit of Spa-Francorchamps where the best lap posted by the No.7908 in 2008 represented an average speed of almost 210kph to fine-tune its preparations for its prime objective of...

SPA... ON THE ROAD TO LE MANS

Peugeot has chosen the ultra-fast circuit of Spa-Francorchamps where the best lap posted by the No.7908 in 2008 represented an average speed of almost 210kph to fine-tune its preparations for its prime objective of the 2009 season, the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Team Peugeot Total's 2009 programme is focused on the French endurance classic. Following the recent 12 Hours of Sebring, where all the teams agree that once around the clock is equivalent to 24 hours anywhere else, it has chosen to enter two cars for the 1000km de Spa. The exact line-up has been selected as a function of the drivers' respective experience in distance terms at the wheel of the 908 HDi FAP.

"Spa stands out above all as our last chance for a dress rehearsal in race conditions prior to Le Mans," stresses Peugeot Sport Director Olivier Quesnel. "It will give the mechanics an opportunity to carry out pit-stops following the introduction of new regulations. It will also enable us to work on our race strategy, while the drivers will be able to familiarise themselves with racing in traffic and with the 908. The latter notably concerns Simon Pagenaud who recently joined us as reserve driver and who will be driving the Pescarolo Sport-run Peugeot 908 HDi FAP at Le Mans. Spa will also give us a chance to validate our latest technical specification. As a consequence, the end result is not our priority. If we need to call a car in to change or check something, as we did at Sebring, then we won't hesitate."

No.7 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP
Christian Klien (AUT) / Nicolas Minassian (FRA) / Simon Pagenaud (FRA)

No.9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP
David Brabham (AUS) / Marc Gene (ESP) / Alexander Wurz (AUT)

The two Peugeots will feature a blue and chrome livery, but with different colours for the wing and mirrors. The No.7 car will have white mirrors, with Peugeot written in black on a white wing. The No.9 car will have black mirrors, with Peugeot written in white on a black wing.

Both cars will be built to the new specification dictated by the ACO regulations, i.e. including 30kg of ballast. Spa-Francorchamps will consequently be our first chance to measure the influence of this new rule which is intended to level out the performance difference between the diesel and petrol prototypes. The latter proved faster in the opening race of the season at Barcelona.

"In addition to capping performance, the addition of 30kg of ballast has a big influence on the resistance of mechanical components, especially suspension and brake parts," says Peugeot Sport's Technical Director Bruno Famin. "To ensure the safety and reliability of our cars, we have had to rush through an additional validation phase in our schedule, and this was a big constraint at this point in our build-up to Le Mans. We estimate that the new fuel-filler restrictor and the 30kg of ballast represent a loss of about two seconds per lap at Le Mans. That's enormous!"

LIVE RACE COVERAGE:

Television
Eurosport: live coverage on Sunday May 10
12:45-13:15, then 18:00-19:00

RTBF La Deux: live coverage on Sunday May 10
12:45-13:35, then 15:50-16:20, and 18:15-19:05

-credit: peugeot

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers David Brabham , Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Alexander Wurz , Christian Klien , Simon Pagenaud , Bruno Famin , Olivier Quesnel