Team Peugeot Total has profited from its traditional press conference prior to the start of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Barcelona to specify its driver line-up for the Le Mans 24 Hours. It also announced the recruitment of a third driver for each...
Team Peugeot Total has profited from its traditional press conference prior to the start of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Barcelona to specify its driver line-up for the Le Mans 24 Hours. It also announced the recruitment of a third driver for each of the two 908 HDi FAPs that will contest next May's LMS round at Spa-Francorchamps.
"Team Peugeot Total has enlisted the services of 10 outstanding drivers whose experience at the wheel of cars that are very similar to the 908 HDi FAP in terms of set-up and driving technique needs no introduction," says Peugeot Sport Director Michel Barge. "Between them, they total 393 Formula 1 Grand Prix starts and 34 previous participations in the Le Mans 24 Hours. When deciding who would compete in which car, our overriding consideration was to form crews that are evenly matched and on whom we will be able to count equally during any strategically key phases of practice and the race. With such a high quality trio in each one of our three 908s at Le Mans, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that we have a first class dream team. But that's not the be-all and end-all; the toughest part of our job is still to come!"
The nine drivers who will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours have been able to profit from the different test sessions they have attended not only to familiarise themselves with the car and the team, but also to get to know each other better, although their respective career paths have already crossed in many cases, notably in Formula 1.
908 HDi FAP N7 (red): Marc Gene (ESP) / Nicolas Minassian (FRA) / Jacques Villeneuve (CAN)
908 HDi FAP N8 (blue): Pedro Lamy (PRT) / Stephane Sarrazin (FRA) / Alexander Wurz (AUT)
908 HDi FAP N9 (grey): Christian Klien (AUT) / Franck Montagny (FRA) / Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Reserve driver: Anthony Beltoise (FRA)
Meanwhile, to optimise the Peugeot squad's preparation for the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours, which is its priority objective, Jacques Villeneuve will be joining forces with Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian for the Le Mans Series round at Spa Francorchamps on May 10-11. According to diary commitments, one of the four other 'newcomers' will share the N8 car with Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin in Belgium.
"We have sought to ensure that all our 2008 drivers have the same number of kilometres under their belts and that they are equally race-fit," explains Serge Saulnier, Team Manager. "As a result, we have three crews that have an equal chance of winning Le Mans. Deciding who would share the N7 car was a very straightforward decision, since Nicolas, Marc and Jacques all wanted to be together again. We also wanted to split the three French drivers and the two Austrians so that we didn't have two drivers of the same nationality in any one car. At the same time, it soon became apparent that Alexander's build and driving style were similar to those of Pedro and Stephane. And, as for Franck, Ricardo and Christian, they clearly get on together and know each other well from their Formula 1 days!"