This year marked the first full FIA World Endurance Championship season for Peugeot TotalEnergies and its 9X8 Hypercar. After three appearances in 2022, fans couldn't wait to see the French carmaker at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary in June. All three Peugeot 9X8s made it to the chequered flag in their first 24-hour race, with the #94 even slipping into P1 not once but twice. The #93 finished eighth overall and the #94 finished 27th. More than the end results, or reliability concerns during the last three hours, Peugeot's execution of the race proved to be the most memorable takeaway.
Olivier Jansonnie, Peugeot Sport Technical Director: "Our joy is in reflecting the work of everyone behind this project for over a year, and the goal was to get to Le Mans 2023. We were criticized for lacking performance, results and reliability. We did not show performance as well as our competitors, but were really close at some points, and we managed to counterbalance with an audacious race strategy and huge involvement from the team."
Loïc Duval, #94 Peugeot driver: "It’s nice to say that up until three hours before the end, we had no issues on both cars, so it’s extremely positive. After 11 hours of racing, we were leading, which is another positive point. We still don’t have the performance or reliability of the best competitors, but we can see interesting things and it’s important to remember the positive. When you think of our first race in Sebring, or even the mechanical problem that we had earlier in the week, we were in the unknown. Finishing with this result is really important for everyone and for the future."
On the heels of the 24 Hours Centenary, the #93 Peugeot claimed the third step on the podium at the 6 Hours of Monza behind Toyota and Ferrari. The 9X8 competed in its first race in 2022 at the Italian circuit. Jansonnie: "This result that gives an extra boost to the team and shows that we are improving."
If Peugeot TotalEnergies manages to stabilise the 9X8's reliability, the car's development will give way to pure performance for next season. The French marque knows both are necessary to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, along with talented drivers like Stoffel Vandoorne replacing Gustavo Menezes at the wheel of the #94.
Peugeot has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times: in 1992 and 1993 with the 905, and in 2009 with the 908 HDi FAP.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will begin a new chapter in its storied history on 12-16 June 2024.