Duval aware Peugeot won't match Toyota from the outset

Loic Duval is under no illusions about the scale of challenge Peugeot faces on its return to FIA World Endurance Championship competition in 2022, admitting it won’t be able to match Toyota’s speed from the outset.

Listen to this article

Peugeot will enter the WEC's top division with the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar, ending a decade-long absence from top-flight endurance racing after its previous 908 LMP1 programme came to a premature end in early 2012.

The new breed of LMH cars may be slower and less complex than their predecessors but they come with their own set of technical challenges, with Toyota coming close to suffering an embarrassing defeat at the Le Mans 24 Hours this year due to fuel pressure issues with both of its GR010 Hybrids.

Duval therefore believes Peugeot will have a tough time being as competitive as Toyota in its first season with the 9X8 next year, stressing that it is up against a rival that has a wealth of experience building championship-winning prototypes.

“When you see Toyota, they have the experience for the last few years, even though it's a new car, the hybrid system and stuff like that, they have a lot of knowledge, so it always takes time to reach reliability,” 2013 Le Mans winner Duval told Motorsport.com in Bahrain last month.

“You also have to find performance because performance and reliability don't really match together, so it's always difficult.

“It's tough to be able to perform as good or even better than Toyota and have reliability straight away. If it was that easy a lot of people would come onboard and straight away will be there.

"This is always difficult and you cannot target that from the beginning. It always takes time, which is normal. We'll have surprises also. For sure, finding issues that you don't expect and that's part of developing a car.”

Peugeot 9X8

Peugeot 9X8

Photo by: Peugeot Sport

Peugeot recently revealed an image of the 9X8 testing at an undisclosed location with a modified back end (above), having previously been confident that it would be able to race the car without a rear wing.

It's unclear if this could delay the start of the Peugeot's WEC programme next year, with the French manufacturer having previously stated that it would make the call regarding when within the 2022 season it joins the field after its initial tests with the 9X8.

Duval says he would like to see Peugeot make its first appearance at Le Mans since 2011 next season, but feels the decision would hinge on how far developed the car is by the middle of the year.

“It always depends upon how the car is born, how the car performs from the beginning, how much development you have to do, it's difficult to say for sure,” said Duval.

“It would be great to have the car at Le Mans for next year and I think it's always the target for manufacturers to be at Le Mans. But you also have to make sure your car is at the level that you want, so for the moment I don't know what's in the pipeline.

“For sure everybody is trying to be as soon as possible on track to race, but you never know until you start the development how long it is going to take.”

shares
comments

Related video

Ex-F1 driver Nasr heads Porsche's LMDh charge for 2023
Previous article

Ex-F1 driver Nasr heads Porsche's LMDh charge for 2023

Next article

Alpine resigned to another "compromise" season in WEC

Alpine resigned to another "compromise" season in WEC
Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023 Prime

Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023

OPINION: There is plenty of excitement over the glut of manufacturers tackling the Hypercar class of the FIA World Endurance Championship this season. The selection committee is set to face headaches over who it decides to admit and who gets turned away from the 2023 entry list, but history tells us that the smaller entrants have a place

WEC
Jan 9, 2023
Motorsport.com writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Prime

Motorsport.com writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022.

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022
Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay? Prime

Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay?

OPINION: Fresh from hosting a controversial 2022 football World Cup, Qatar has added its name to the 2024 World Endurance Championship calendar. Although questions may be asked about its presence on the calendar, is it simply the price to pay for having a healthy racing championship?

WEC
Dec 21, 2022
How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title Prime

How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title

Toyota #8 trio Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa outscored their rivals in the last season before the World Endurance Championship’s top class gets ultra-competitive. Here's how their Hypercar battle with Alpine and the remaining class tussles played out in LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am

WEC
Dec 5, 2022
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Prime

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Prime

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its FIA World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022