Spa: Peugeot Sport preview

There's been no question of a summer break for Peugeot Sport which has been busy preparing the two 908 HDi FAPs that will contest the next race of the LMS calendar, the 1,000km of Spa-Francorchamps (August 17-19). Work has also been ongoing on...

There's been no question of a summer break for Peugeot Sport which has been busy preparing the two 908 HDi FAPs that will contest the next race of the LMS calendar, the 1,000km of Spa-Francorchamps (August 17-19).

Work has also been ongoing on the development of the car itself with a view to enhancing its reliability for the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours.

After the 908's maiden track run on December 31, 2006, Peugeot Sport faced the task of working concurrently on the new car's set-up, curing the teething troubles that were inherent in such a fast-moving project, working on reliability in readiness for the season's first three 1,000km races and, of course, the Le Mans 24 Hours, plus, finally, the development proper of the car.

The results obtained to date - namely three 1,000km race wins (including a one-two at the Nürbürgring), plus a superb second place at Le Mans - have far exceeded the team's objectives which were those of a volume car manufacturer taking its first steps on a fresh motor sport campaign. Peugeot Sport has no intention, however, of allowing this encouraging score to take the team's eye off its bid to win the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours and, as we have seen, the 908 HDi FAP still needs to progress, in terms of both outright performance and reliability.

To this end, two tests were recently organised: one at Estoril (Portugal) with Stéphane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy during the last week of July, and the other at Jerez (Spain) with Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene. The two sessions featured a busy schedule, including running in the extremely hot weather encountered at Jerez. The data from this could well prove valuable in case of high temperatures at Le Mans in 2008!

The fourth round of the 2007 Le Mans Series at Spa promises to be a grand occasion, although the notoriously wet weather of the Belgian Ardennes obviously can't be ruled out! For the teams, this race will be an opportunity to sample the revised track layout, including the new-look 'right/left' Bus Stop chicane which has made it possible to have a straight starting grid and which also facilitated the building of the all-new pits complex.

The 54 cars will start the race on Sunday August 19 at 12.30 for 143 laps of the 6.976km circuit. Pedro Lamy: The Portuguese driver competed in the recent 24 Hours of Spa and is consequently the ideal Peugeot driver to comment the latest changes to the Belgian venue: "Spa continues to stand out as one of the finest circuits in the world. The 'Bus Stop' chicane has been nicely designed and gives a good opportunity to overtake under braking.

The only negative point is the entry into the pit-lane which is very narrow. I like the improvements that have been made at La Source which is wider and now a corner worthy of a modern circuit. As for the new pits complex, it is truly magnificent. The problem at Spa, of course, is the possibility of changeable weather conditions which mean you can sometimes get caught out by the presence of rain at one end of the circuit, while it is completely dry at the other..."

-credit: peugeot sport

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Series European Le Mans
Drivers Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy