Launch Season: Peugeot 908

Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

The 2009 edition of the Peugeot 908 was launched yesterday.

The car looks substantially the same as last year, albeit with a rear wing 400mm narrower per the ACO’s regulations for this season. Pug’s engineers say they’ve been working on the engine mapping, cooling and traction control systems. Partly this is due to the new rules cutting power by 10% on last year, and partly this is because Peugeot really struggled with overheating last year. It cost them the win at Le Mans because the airflow when it was raining wasn’t sufficient to cool the engine. There were other factors as well of course, like their crazy tyre decisions and inexperienced drivers (many were new to sportscars, anyway), but the cooling was a major factor.

Also in ‘cooling news’, the roof sports a ‘reflective chromelike aluminium covering’ according to Olivier Quesnel.

A surprise announcement on the driver front, to me at least, was the unveiling of Sebastien Bourdais and David Brabham. Bourdais was rumoured on Thursday night, which was a surprise to me because nobody has dovetailed a full F1 season with an attack on Le Mans for many, many years. The last to try the F1/LM crossover was Franck Montagny (fairly recently too, say 4 years?) but he was just an F1 test driver. at the time.
Brabs wasn’t on my radar at all for this, maybe I missed a comment on Midweek Motorsport (I’m still an episode behind) or other sources. I had thought he was still signed to drive the Acura and perhaps he is, which is why he won’t appear at Sebring.

The full driver line-up:
S Bourdais, D Brabham, M Gene, C Klien, P Lamy, N Minassian, F Montagny, S Sarrazin, A Wurz.


It’s still a fantastic-looking car.

Peugeot confirmed their plans for the first half of 2009: they will take two cars to the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, and three cars to the 1000km of Spa-Francorchamps in May before sending all three to Le Mans. There is no word on what will become of the team after Le Mans. In my opinion they’ll see what Audi does, and how they perform against Audi (and Aston!) in the big race.

Drivers confirmed for Sebring:
Car 7: Minassian / Lamy / Bourdais
Car 8: Montagny / Sarrazin / Klien

This leaves Gene, Brabham and Wurz for the 3rd car if the line-ups remain the same. Line-ups for Spa will be confirmed at a later date.

Photo credit: Peugeot Sport

PS – yes, I know I didn’t post about the new Acura. They aren’t going to Le Mans. Yet..
PPS – I’m begging you here, PLEASE get the name right. “Le Mans”. There are TWO WORDS. Writing “LeMans” (or “Lemans” which is worse) really does annoy me! I don’t mind it on Twitter because of the character limit. A pet peeve of mine, just like hyphenating ‘F1’.

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