Following in the wake of the 905 and the 908 HDi FAP, the 908 is the third car to have been developed by Peugeot Sport for endurance racing. And, like its forebears, its mission will be to extend Peugeot’s winning record at Le Mans which already features three wins, in 1992, 1993 and 2009.
The 908 HDi FAP helped Peugeot build up an enviable record of world class successes, including the title in the 2007 Le Mans Series, a one-two finish at Le Mans in 2009 and the inaugural ILMC crown in 2010.
“We have chosen 908 as the name of the new car in order to build on the wave of success with which it is associated,” says Peugeot’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Xavier Peugeot.
“At the same time, this car fits perfectly with the brand’s modern calling. It mirrors the modernity that is dialled into the 408, which is in the process of being launched in Latin America, the 508, which is beginning to arrive in the dealerships, and the new 308, about which we will be going into a little further detail over the coming days. It also echoes the modernity expressed by our first ever diesel hybrid model, the 3008 HYbrid4. At Peugeot, we have always sought to associate our commitment to motorsport with the real world and with our model range. The name 908 consequently stood out as the obvious choice.”
The 908 complies with the latest technical regulations and notably features a so-called shark’s fin engine-cover appendix. It is a closed-cockpit car, with four identical wheels, and is powered by a 550-horsepower, 3.7-litre V8 HDi FAP diesel engine. It means Peugeot Sport will be competing in endurance racing for the fifth year running with a diesel engine equipped with a particulate filter (FAP/Filtre à Particules).
Since 1998, more than seven million HDi engines have been sold worldwide, helping Peugeot to earn a reputation as one of the biggest players in the realm of clean diesel power. The 908 packs the same technologies as those employed for Peugeot’s road cars, while there has been close collaboration between the group’s engineers and specialists and their counterparts at Peugeot Sport to ensure that expertise in domains like fuel efficiency, respect for the environment and performance is shared between road cars and motorsport.
The Driver line-up
This season sees the introduction of a more balanced calendar, a shift in the technical regulations and the arrival of a new car, but the people who make up the team are just the same. “At our debrief after the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours at our base in Vélizy, I told all our drivers that I had every confidence in them for 2011,” concludes Olivier Quesnel. “They are true professionals, every one of them. We have nine world class drivers who count among the discipline’s very best. We have everything to gain from sticking to the same line-up.”
The three crews for Le Mans include:
N°7 908: Alexander Wurz / Anthony Davidson / Marc Gené
N°8 908: Franck Montagny / Nicolas Minassian / Stéphane Sarrazin
N°9 908: Sébastien Bourdais / Pedro Lamy / Simon Pagenaud
During the launch this afternoon, Alex Wurz tweeted the following warning to fans of their Ingolstadt rival: “Our new PUG looks very cool. Nice launch event here in Paris. I think u can follow live on the Peugeot sport web site. Can’t wait to drive it”, he then went on to say, “..any Audi fans r out and about – its time 2 get scared. The new 908 looks mega. Marc, Anthony and me will rock! Le Mans here we come”.
The new car made its track debut on July 27, 2010 and between then and the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours, the team will have completed 12 tests in all, at a number of different circuits.