Peugeot confirms two cars for Petit Le Mans

Peugeot confirms two cars for Petit Le Mans

Having already conquered the pinnacle of the sports car racing calendar at Le Mans, Peugeot has confirmed its assault on the final major endurance event of the 2009 season. In September at Road Atlanta, Peugeot has entered two factory 908 HDi FAPs...

Having already conquered the pinnacle of the sports car racing calendar at Le Mans, Peugeot has confirmed its assault on the final major endurance event of the 2009 season. In September at Road Atlanta, Peugeot has entered two factory 908 HDi FAPs for the American Le Mans Series event, the Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6.

#08 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDI FAP: St?phane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny, S?bastien Bourdais.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

Piloting the closed-top diesels that dominated this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans are Pedro Lamy, Nicolas Minassian, Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin. Montagny and Sarrazin, the French drivers racing for the "French lions," co-drove with Sebastien Bourdais at La Sarthe to a second place overall finish behind their sister car of David Brabham, Alexander Wurz and Marc Gene.

"It would be hard for us to imagine a stronger end to 2009 than with Peugeot sending not one but two clean diesel-powered prototypes for an event that truly has become a spectacle on the landscape of global motorsport," said ALMS series president and CEO Scott Atherton.

"With the Le Mans trophy already in hand, the potential of adding yet another significant honor to close out the year would wrap up a season for the ages...especially if the rumor mill is indeed accurate and other world-class teams and manufacturers who are no strangers to Road Atlanta, Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 and Peugeot confirm their entries in the near future," he added.

Atherton of course is indirectly referring to Audi, which has taken a step back from full season competition this year. It is the first time in either ALMS or the Le Mans Series that Audi has taken this direction since premiering their initial prototype, the R8, in 1999.

It has otherwise been a year devoid of manufacturer competition in ALMS P1 aside from the new Acura ARX02-a and a pair of customer Lolas. The Corsa Motorsports Ginetta Zytek hybrid has just got up and running the last two rounds but has yet to challenge for overall victory. Audi has not yet confirmed its participation in the event after minimal running of its new R15 TDI that more or less struggled at Le Mans.

Peugeot will for the second straight year complete its participation in all of Sebring, Le Mans, and Road Atlanta. They have not won at the Sebring 12 Hours in two prior starts and in its only Road Atlanta start.

Peugeot made its debut at Road Atlanta last season and in an epic fight over the 1000-mile event, fell just short of Audi's R10 TDIs. The gap after nearly 10 hours of racing was merely 4.512 seconds to the winning Audi, Sarrazin, Minassian and Christian Klien trailing home Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro.

At this year's Le Mans, Peugeot lodged a protest against the front bodywork of the Audi R15 TDI, but dropped it after the race. It mattered not as Peugeot had the outright speed to claim its first 24H title since 1993.

While Road Atlanta is the remaining pinnacle of the American sports car series, there are more events to come with the Le Mans Series' race at Algarve in Portugal this weekend and the debut of the Asian Le Mans Series later this season.

Either way, Peugeot's participation at Petit ensures it will once again be a barnburner.

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Franck Montagny , Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Alexander Wurz , Pedro Lamy , Sébastien Bourdais , Christian Klien , Eric Gilbert , Dindo Capello , Emanuele Pirro