This time was going to be different, Peugeot thought. Its revolutionary-looking Hypercar entry wouldn't need a rear wing, because it was a special darling making downforce on its own terms. Oh, how those hollow words fell.
As reported by DailySportscar.com, changes are afoot ahead of the next season of Hypercar competition. Namely, the Peugeot 9X8, which competes under the LMH rules, could be getting a major makeover. Initially designed to rely primarily on underbody downforce, the 9X8 will likely add a rear wing for more aero grip next year.
DailySportscar.com states unnamed sources that report Peugeot will heavily rework the aerodynamic concept for its Hypercar entry. While the car will use the same basic monocoque chassis, it will no longer rely on its innovative wingless design. Instead, it appears that a more typical aero setup has been designed for the car, including a flat floor and a full-size rear wing.
LMH cars are allowed up to five performance upgrades over their competition life, with safety and reliability upgrades not counted towards this total. However, these upgrades are subject to a complicated approval process involving the FIA and ACO. The aim is to allow the governing bodies to manage the Balance of Performance between rival manufacturers to maintain close competition.
"We still want more transparency and cannot make upgrades without their agreement, it’s not frozen yet what we could do with them, we are still discussing it," said Olivier Jansonnie, Peugeot Sport’s technical director.
Given the 9X8's performance in the past two years, it's perhaps little surprise that Peugeot is changing tack. The team's best finish thus far was coming third at the 2023 6 Hours of Monza, which remains the car's only podium finish to date.
It's perhaps a shame to see Peugeot abandon its initial concept, but it's a typical tale played out time and again in motorsports history. Too often, oddball concepts prove either uncompetitive or are nerfed by the rules before they can achieve true greatness. Good examples include the Mercedes zero-sidepod concept, or the Williams walrus nose from years past.
The new configuration of the 9X8 is expected to begin testing in December ahead of the 2024 season. Peugeot will be hoping that the new concept will be more successful than the car's initial "no wing" design, which has only seen intermittent success in the Hypercar competition thus far.
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