Barely had the chequered flag come down on the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours than Peugeot Sport began focusing all its energy and resources on this year's race. The legendary French competition stands out as the priority objective of the brand's...
Barely had the chequered flag come down on the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours than Peugeot Sport began focusing all its energy and resources on this year's race. The legendary French competition stands out as the priority objective of the brand's motor sport programme and, with less than a month to go before the start, the minds of everyone at Velizy are concentrated on this goal alone. And the team's physical preparation is considered just as crucial as the technical work.
Technical matters continue to take up a great deal of the team's time, with a busy schedule of testing, simulations and kilometres covered validating new evolutions. However, nothing can be left to chance when it comes to such a demanding race as Le Mans, and that concerns physical fitness, too; not only that of the drivers but also that of the mechanics. "One of the mechanics carried an electrode last year to monitor his heart rate and muscular activity," explains Team Peugeot Total's osteopath Jean-Pierre Buisson. "The bottom line of that operation was that the mechanics are genuine sportsmen, too. Wheels weigh 22kg each, while the airguns to fix them to the car tip the scales at 6kg, and the operation is repeated many times in the course of the race. We saw that the mechanic's heart rate could climb to 160 beats per minute in just 15 seconds; and simply hearing over the radio that the car was in the pit-lane sent the pulse up 12bpm." Peugeot Sport's mechanics have consequently been following a weekly training programme in recent months under the supervision of a coach to enhance their fitness and optimise their movements. This in turn has enabled them to approach the event more serenely and also reduce the time spent working on the car during pit- stops. "On top of the fitness aspect, which should improve everyone's stamina and, amongst other things, enable us to optimize wheel changes, the aim has been to strengthen bonds within the team," adds Team Manager Serge Saulnier.
Meanwhile, hosted by the Groupe Lucien Barriere, the drivers have been spending time in La Baule, Brittany, with a view to working out and, here again, strengthening bonds. Nicolas Minassian, Marc Gene, Stephane Sarrazin, Pedro Lamy, Christian Klien, Franck Montagny and Alexander Wurz took part in a programme of tennis, swimming, jogging, gym work and cycling, as well as team sports. They were even invited by La Baule Yacht Club to take part in a dragon regatta. "The objective was to spend some quality time together in an efficient way," says Jean-Pierre Buisson. "Rather than an intensive workout which could have led to fatigue, we wanted the drivers to participate in a series of fun activities which would at least enable them to leave La Baule in good shape. They are all champions, with strong characters, so another of the course's aims was to encourage cohesion within the group and also promote a friendly relationship and mutual respect between the drivers, because it takes a minimum of three to win at Le Mans!" One of the highlight's of the week was the arrival of the 308 RCZ which, judging by the photos, didn't fail to catch the drivers' attention!
Michel BARGE: "The crews of all three 908 HDi FAPs now form a single group. There is a real bond, not only between the drivers but also between the mechanics. Whatever the result, everyone will come away stronger thanks to this programme."