It's first outing will be the 6 Hours of Monza.
Peugeot first unveiled its all-new 9X8 hypercar in July 2021, and it's a sensational-looking automotive work of art. The most striking thing about it is not the aggressive front styling with matching LEDs nor the wicked roof air intake. It's the lack of an oversized rear wing, which you'd think is a requirement on a car that produces 670 horsepower at the rear and another 268 hp at the front.
Peugeot has now unveiled the final version of the 9X8, which will compete in the fourth round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) at Monza, Italy.
It still doesn't have a fixed-wing, but the fin that runs from the roof-mounted intake to the rear is larger than the original car-sort of like a mutated racing salmon.
Endurance racing is arguably hotter than Formula 1 at the moment, with loads of competitors entering the LMDh category. Lamborghini confirmed its entry into endurance racing last week, following in the footsteps of Cadillac, Ferrari, and BMW. The Le Mans Hypercar category is now even more accessible and competitive than the unlimited LMP1 category, which means it will hopefully attract more eyeballs this season.
Peugeot says the 9X8 acts as a shop window for the brand's "technological expertise in the fields of hybridization and electrification - both key elements of the brand's energy transition strategy." This is the same strategy Lamborghini is taking. It will use endurance racing to test the hybrid systems that will eventually debut in the Lamborghini Sian successor.
Peugeot's end goal is the Le Mans 24 Hours. According to Peugeot, Le Mans is an extraordinary event that has few rivals when it comes to evaluating and validating innovative ideas and technologies.
"With only weeks to go until its maiden competitive outing at Monza, the Peugeot 9X8 has been clocking up the kilometers in testing at a variety of circuits. At the end of the day, however, there is no substitute for actual racing and we can't wait to discover the potential of our hybrid-electric Hypercar which was developed in-house to demonstrate our skills in the realm of hybridization and other areas," said Olivier Jansonnie, Technical Director, Peugeot Sport.
The setup of the 9X8 is the same as when it was first unveiled. The rear wheels are driven by a 2.6-liter twin-turbo V6 producing nearly 700 hp, while the front axle is equipped with a 268-hp electric motor powered by a 900-volt battery.
Six drivers have been named to form the two crews at Italy's 6 Hours of Monza on July 10, namely Paul Di Resta (GBR), Loic Duval (FRA), Mikkel Jensen (DNK), Gustavo Menezes (USA/BRA), James Rossiter (GBR) and Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA).