2010 -- A YEAR OF CONSOLIDATION Just over a month ago, Peugeot pulled the wraps off its new corporate identity which encapsulates high standards and excitement, two qualities that are especially applicable to motor sport. Peugeot Sport,...
2010 -- A YEAR OF CONSOLIDATION
Just over a month ago, Peugeot pulled the wraps off its new corporate identity which encapsulates high standards and excitement, two qualities that are especially applicable to motor sport.
Peugeot Sport, official suppliers of driving excitement.
Like Peugeot, Peugeot Sport is on the offensive. As it prepares for the future by building on its recent successes, not only does Peugeot Sport serve as a shop window for the brand, both technologically and in terms of image, but it also mirrors the latter's new corporate identity, which puts movement and motoring enjoyment at the heart of its strategy.
2009 was a highly successful year in motor sport terms: topping the bill was a one-two finish in the Le Mans 24 Hours, a clean sweep of the podium places for the 207 Super 2000 in the Rallye Monte-Carlo, as well as third consecutive Manufacturers' and Drivers' titles in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, thanks to the efforts of several Peugeot subsidiaries, not forgetting the ongoing tradition of individual event wins and national titles achieved by private entrants. All this is the result of the spirit of those competitors, a spirit which must continue in 2010 in the hunt for further success and excitement.
2010 endurance racing : targeting another win at Le Mans.
Riding high on the back of last year's one-two finish, Peugeot Sport is aiming to do it again in 2010. In the fourth and final year of the 908 HDi FAP's career, Team Peugeot Total has pressed on with its development, getting down to work on the very next day after that historic win, striving to squeeze even more improvements out of the car.
Test sessions and races at a variety of venues have been programmed in order to be as well prepared as possible for the 78th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, a race which always throws up unique challenges, uncertainties and changes of fortune, all part of its legendary status. But even the most meticulous preparations can hope to reproduce the specific features and surprises this race invariably delivers. Since its historic success on June 14, 2009, Peugeot will have racked up a total of eleven test sessions consisting of endurance runs, set-up work and two demanding warm-ups in the form of two actual races.
Eleven drivers have been chosen to fly the Peugeot flag, running with race numbers 1, 2 and 3, the numbers which were previously the property of the make's much respected rival. The 2009 winners will carry the Number 1 plate: Marc GENE (ESP,) Alexander WURZ (AUT), plus a newcomer to the Peugeot Sport ranks, Anthony DAVIDSON (GBR). Marc and Alexander will be tackling their fourth Le Mans, the Austrian having won twice, in 1996 and 2009. Anthony has contested the French race twice (2002 and 2009) and tested the 908 in a session at Le Castellet at the end of 2008.
In the No.2 908 HDi FAP, three French drivers Nicolas MINASSIAN, Franck MONTAGNY and Stephane SARRAZIN, reform the trio that previously raced together for Oreca in 2002 and again in a memorable race last November at Le Mans, in the 207 Relais relay race which formed part of the season's final Rencontres Peugeot Sport meeting. It's worth noting that Stephane has taken pole position for the last three years at Le Mans in the 908 HDi FAP.
The third crew is made up of local boy Sebastien BOURDAIS, who renews his partnership with his United States-based countryman Simon PAGENAUD and Portugal's Pedro LAMY. Sebastien and Pedro had also been Le Mans team-mates back in 2007, at the wheel of the No.8 Peugeot.
Christian KLIEN will be the reserve driver for Team Peugeot Total, while Gregory GUILVERT, having impressed at a test in the 908 (his prize for winning the 2009 THP Spider Cup), takes on the role of test driver.
On the racing front, Peugeot's first test comes in the shape of the full-on challenge of dealing with 12 hours of racing against the heat and difficult track at Sebring (Florida, USA), which provides the backdrop for the year's first appearance of the two Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs, shared by Davidson/Gene/Wurz (No.07) and Bourdais/Lamy/Minassian (No.08). The French squad will first tackle a test session the previous weekend and then resume testing two days after the endurance race. The second event is at Spa-Francorchamps in a round of the Le Mans Series and this will serve as a dressrehearsal for the whole Peugeot Sport team, with three cars entered.
Eleven test sessions and two races should see enable the team to prepare thoroughly for the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours.
A busy second half of the season in 2010
Peugeot Sport is also working on life after Le Mans and, at the moment, there are two further races on the calendar for the 908 HDi FAP: the Le Mans Series round at Silverstone in England, in September, then -- assuming it is confirmed by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest -- the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup race in Shanghai, China. For Peugeot Sport, the second half of the year is also the time to look to the future, specifically the immediate future and the new 2011 regulations, which signal the start of a new era for endurance racing. Some of the new rules have already been a announced, which means work can now begin a new car.
Q&A with Olivier QUESNEL (Director, Peugeot Sport) and Bruno FAMIN (Technical Director)
The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP is ready for its fourth and final season. Have you been able to introduce many technical modifications?
Bruno FAMIN: "Lots! First of all, we had to concentrate on bodywork and
engine alterations to comply with the
2010 regulations. In terms of the body we have made the following changes:
- thicker trailing edges on the 'extended' section of the front diffuser (they can be seen where the sidepods start, on each side of the monocoque);
- the engine cover has been modified and the tyre debris grilles, previously located on the upper bodywork, above the wheels, have been removed and replaced by flat surfaces.
"In line with changes to the 2010 technical regulations, the following
engine modifications have been
- the air inlet restrictor diameter has been reduced from last season's 38.3mm to 37.8mm;
- maximum turbo pressure has been cut from 2,750 to 2,590mbar. As a result of these two modifications, power has been capped by about 40bhp.
"Despite the above, engine developments have continued apace and we have
upgraded the engine in
collaboration with PSA Group specialists. We have particularly focused on:
- reduction of frictional losses, thanks notably to groundwork with Total on the lubricants we employ;
- improved volumetric efficiency for inlet and exhaust;
- enhanced combustion, thanks to close collaboration with Bosch.
"We have also worked on a serious weight reduction programme in every domain. The target was to make sure the car was no heavier this year, despite the various changes that have been made in terms of both reliability and the latest bodywork regulations.
"Reliability was an important consideration, even though we've had only one
retirement among the eight 908
HDi FAPs that have been entered for Le Mans since 2007. To put that another
way, we've completed 191 of a
possible 192 racing hours:
- it was important to maintain this tradition, so we began with a major overhaul of all the elements that caused us problems in 2009: gearbox, clutch and transmission, brake wear, wheel assemblies and airconditioning.
"Finally, we have worked closely with Michelin on a completely new range of tyres for dry, intermediate and wet conditions."
What are the prospects of the 908 HDi FAP achieving more race victories?
Bruno FAMIN: "It might be the car's fourth season, but there has been no sign of its speed diminishing. Last year we believed we might be fractionally behind our main rival in terms of performance, but in reality it was quite the opposite and the 908 was still one step ahead. It is quite clear that our rivals have responded and made significant progress with a car that is still only two years old. In terms of raw performance it wouldn't surprise me if we were very fractionally behind -- and that will set things up nicely for a 24-hour sprint race at Le Mans."
Will there be four 908 HDi FAPs on the grid in this season's Le Mans 24 Hours?
Olivier QUESNEL: "There will be three works cars and Hugues de Chaunac's team, Oreca, will run another at Le Mans and throughout the full Le Mans Series. We wanted to give ourselves four opportunities to win -- it will be a vintage season and it is vital to do all we can to counter a formidable rival that is hungry for revenge. Oreca's 908 will be in full 2010 specification and is an integral part of our Le Mans 24 Hours strategy."
What was the thinking behind the works team's driver line-up at Le Mans?
Olivier QUESNEL: "I didn't do anything revolutionary because the foundations were already in place. The Le Mans 24 Hours will be an epic event this year and the slightest mistake or delay, be it on the track or in the pit lane, will be costly. All cars have been further developed and there will be precious little to choose between the top teams, so it is going to be an intense battle. It promises to be twice as tough as Sebring 2009, where the leading cars were only 22 seconds apart after 12 hours of racing. Consequently, to use a cycling analogy, we needed two teams of sprinters and one of routier-sprinters while at the same time maintaining a sense of balance. Sebastien Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud have both raced extensively in the United States and Pedro Lamy is a pillar of the Peugeot squad. Franck Montagny, Nicolas Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin complement each other perfectly in every way and are delighted to be working together. "Finally, last year's Le Mans winners Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz will be joined by Anthony Davidson. We had a number of options for this car, including Sebastien Loeb. He has reached a sufficiently high standard to be considered as a potential team member and we waited until the Swedish Rally before we took any decision. Every driver has to be 100 per cent committed to our programme and it eventually became clear that Sebastien's schedule would be too tight. Anthony Davidson was available -- he is quick, enthusiastic and very happy to be part of Team Peugeot Total. It is my belief, therefore, that we have three crews capable of victory at Le Mans."
What can you tell us about the 2011 car?
Olivier QUESNEL: "For the moment we have nicknamed it the '90X' but there is nothing more concrete to announce. Our priority is Le Mans and that's where our efforts are focused."
Bruno FAMIN: "On the technical side we are well advanced with a number of projects for 2011 but we are not yet ready to disclose any details. The technical regulations are still being finalised and we still have to evaluate many different ideas. We want to do that quickly, though, because in a perfect world the car would be running before the end of this year. In the meantime, with preparations under way for Le Mans 2010 and a new car in the pipeline, we have plenty to keep us occupied..."
Sebring 12 Hours
908 HDi FAP No.07: Anthony DAVIDSON / Marc GENE / Alexander WURZ
908 HDi FAP No.08: Sebastien BOURDAIS / Pedro LAMY / Nicolas MINASSIAN
Le Mans 24 Hours:
908 HDi FAP No.1: Anthony DAVIDSON / Marc GENE / Alexander WURZ
908 HDi FAP No.2: Nicolas MINASSIAN / Franck MONTAGNY / Stephane SARRAZIN
908 HDi FAP No.3: Sebastien BOURDAIS / Pedro LAMY / Simon PAGENAUD
Reserve driver: Christian KLIEN