Peugeot and Total are commencing their Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) project; to develop an electric hypercar, in conjunction with the 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
This event, as Jean Philippe Imparato, Peugeot brand CEO describes “is the holy grail of the automobile world”. He enthuses that for Peugeot “this represents…endless sweat, tears and joy and an incredible team spirit with Total, with whom we celebrate this year, 25 years of collaboration.”
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Indeed, the project represents an exciting new development for these companies and indicates the beginning of a novel phase for the top tier endurance group. Matthias Hossann, Design Director at Peugeot explains “The new Le Mans Hypercar category offers an unprecedented and historical opportunity for sports and design teams to collaborate”.
Multiple criteria informed the selection of the LMH category, including specific aerodynamic freedom, ensuring the key aesthetics of the brand are maintained in conjunction with Peugeot Design. Through the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2020, the collaborative efforts of the companies have enabled the initial demonstration of concepts and the determination of the required dimensions and essential design elements involved in this project.
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Hossann expands on this, stating “We are currently in the pre-project stage, that of studies and conception. We have discussed different regulation possibilities with the Peugeot Sport teams to assure that we are fully aware of that is allowed and what is not. The rest of the project will be carried out in close collaboration between the two teams.
“These sketches are the first design drafts intended to help us identify the important segments on which we should focus on. The three claw marks and the colours are symbols that we wish to produce on our hypercar. Our signature found in the light impressions are part of the strong identity emblems present on our production vehicles and that we wish to reproduce in the race.”
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It is clear the project and collaboration are exciting for both Peugeot and Total and as Philippe Montantême, Strategy/Marketing and Research Director at Total reports “Competition, firmly embedded in our DNA, represents a real technical on-hands workshop for our respective brands. It is in these workshops that we can work together, in search of perpetual performance and efficiency, in order to share the best solutions and products from high-level sport to our final customers.
“The ‘Le Mans Hypercar’ project provides us today possibilities for joint development on the entire energy system of the car; on the efficiency of our fuels – for all the competitors, as the exclusive supplier- or for the lube, specifically designed for hybrid vehicles. It will also allow Total and SAFT to study new battery solutions alongside Peugeot. Total is now a multi-energy company that answers to all mobility demands while maintaining itself as a pioneer. The “Le Mans Hypercar” embodies this perfectly.”
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Oliver Jansonnie, Technical Director for the Peugeot Sport WEC program explains the vehicle’s design further; “The car will be 4-wheel drive, equipped- as required by the regulations – with an electric motor and a maximum power of 200 kW on the front axle.
“The total power level will be identical to that of a 100% thermal 2-wheel drive car (500kW or approx. 680hp) that will be distributed between the 2 axles. In comparison with what we currently know in LMP1, the car will be heavier so as to be compatible with road vehicles. It will also be longer (5m ald 4.65m) and wider (2m ald 1m90). This regulation is also different because it incorporates a performance balance (BoP: Balance of Performance).
“It certainly sets limits, but also allows room for many technical possibilities in our development, specifically on the general shape, as long as a certain overall aerodynamic efficiency is not exceeded. This will be measured in a 1:1 scale wind tunnel and which will be part of the BOP.”
Jansonnie further explains how Peugeot Sport technical departments have taken a key role in the development of specific aspects of the studies required for this project; from the selection of engine architecture and aerodynamic concept, through to the determination of the electrical framework and development of the hybrid traction chain.
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He does, however, highlight that “We still have several steps left before our debut in endurance in 2022, in studies, the production of prototypes and finally, affirmation on the bench and on the track.”
As indicated by these discussions and developments, Peugeot Sport is refocusing its attention into the reinforced energy market, commencing with the new Peugeot 508 as part of its sport engineered hybrid high-performance road series.
Jean-Philippe Imparato, Peugeot brand CEO explains these exciting new ventures, stating “This category unites our entire company and all of our entities, with features and technologies similar to those of our production cars. Through this commitment, Peugeot is opening a new register, that of neo performance. We are coming back to endurance racing because we have the opportunity to work the sport in a different way, with the hybridization of gas and electricity.
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“Peugeot Sport is changing its identity and launching its label of electrified high-performance vehicles; Peugeot Sport Engineered with its first 508 model: 360 horsepower, 4-wheel drive and 46g of C02. This endurance program allows us to integrate ourselves fully into the transition of energies.”