This Is Why France's Le Mans Hypercar Doesn't Have A Wing

Motorsport / 9 Comments

No prototype has won Le Mans without one since 1971.

Around the middle of last year, French automaker Peugeot revealed a new hypercar called the 9X8. It utilizes a 2.6-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 670 horsepower on its own steam, all of which goes to the rear axle through a seven-speed sequential transmission while the front wheels further bolster performance with a 268-hp electric motor. It's such an impressive package that Dodge may use the setup for its own motorsport ambitions, although the body will likely be different. Peugeot has designed its racer to reflect a new brand identity, but that's not the only reason that Dodge may choose to go its own way. See, the 9X8 has no rear wing, and that's a very big deal for Le Mans.

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As Peugeot explains, "the rear wing first appeared in endurance racing at Le Mans in 1967 and has since become the prevailing standard." Need proof? No car has won there without a rear wing in over 50 years, with the last arriving in 1971. Peugeot knew this and still chose to pursue the concept of a wingless yet competitive Le Mans entrant, which just goes to show how the French are always quirky and audacious in their automotive ambitions. That said, the automaker is not without past success at Le Mans, so it would be unwise to discount it based purely on the design of its car, which the marque has certainly spent a lot of time on, especially at the rear.

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In 1992 and 1993, the company won at Le Mans with the 905. This boasted a V10 gasoline engine, and then in 2009, a V12 HDi-FAP engine continued the brand's winning ways. Peugeot is now aiming to replicate that success with fresh technologies. To signify this, the car has been adorned in a new color signature called Kryptonite. Sadly, we expect the competition vehicle to be covered in sponsor decals and branding. What's sadder is that Peugeot doesn't sell anything in the US anymore and likely won't for some time to come. Pity, because the 308 is a charming rival to the Volkswagen Golf and is also available in GTi format.

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