At the recent “6 Hours of Monza” World Endurance Championship race, the world was finally properly introduced to Peugeot’s new hybrid hypercar, the 9X8. Not everything went Peugeot’s way on the race day, but no one could deny that this new vehicle is an incredible piece of engineering.
A car built to perform
Even a fleeting glance at the 9X8’s specification tells the story of a serious performance machine. Of course, it does follow the FIA guidelines that all teams participating in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) must follow, namely a strict weight minimum of 2,271-lbs (1030-kg), and a maximum power rating of 671-hp that comes split between a conventional internal combustion engine and an electric powertrain.
So if it’s built to follow guidelines, where does the performance aspect come in? Its combustion powertrain consists of a 2.6L twin-turbo V6 engine powering the rear wheels, and a 360-hp (200-kW) electric motor at the front, powered by a 900-volt battery pack. The electric powertrain was developed together with TotalEnergies, Saft, and ACC.
The V6 engine on the Peugeot 9X8 can deliver up to 697-hp when the limiters are removed, but it’s not all about power on this car. Design also plays a critical role in the excitement that surrounds it. Described by some as “eye-popping,” there are enough unique features on the 9X8 that can justify such an epithet, and then some.
Perhaps the most noticeable thing about the 9X8 is that it is completely free of a rear wing. This on its own is a huge departure from the way things are normally done during WEC races. Another striking feature is the design of the front and rear lights, made in the “three-shard” image that reflects the Peugeot Sport logo. Others call these the “lion’s claws”, which of course is in perfect unison with Peugeot’s long-held lion’s head logo, promising to slash the competition.
The resulting effect is a car that just can’t help but turn heads and attract admiration. When you put the above-mentioned factors with other design elements like its huge front splitters, the result is a pretty intimidating competitor.
Resurrecting past glories
Peugeot is not entirely new to the world of endurance racing, of course. Back in the early 1990s and in the late 2000s, in fact, Peugeot was fairly dominant with models such as the 905 and 908, both of which have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans Races, the 905 in 1992 and 1993, and the 908 in 2009.
Even the new name “9X8” was chosen to remind us both of glories past and the hope for victories in the coming years. The “9” refers to Peugeot’s extreme racing cars like those put into the WEC races in the past. The “X” refers to the hybrid technology used to create the car, as well as the all-wheel drive tech used in the drivetrain. Finally, the “8” is the current number being used on Peugeot’s latest vehicles, such as the 208, 2008, 308, etc.
Thus, the 9X8 has been born and given its baptism of fire on its first racing battlefield. Hopefully we will continue to see great things from Peugeot Sport in the near future.