The Peugeot 'breakthrough' that led to new 9X8 Hypercar having no rear wing

Le Mans News

Peugeot has explained why its radical new Le Mans Hypercar, the 9X8, features no rear wing

Peugeot hypercar front

The new 9X8 is currently a "one-piece" design, with no rear wing – Peugeot has explained this

Peugeot Sport

Peugeot has explained the “breakthrough” which led to its radical new 9X8 Hypercar design having no rear wing, instead generating downforce wth the shape of its floor and bodywork.

Revealed today in an online launch, the car is a significant departure from the other more conventional looking Toyota and Glickenhaus efforts.

Peugeot Design Director Matthias Hossan explained a design tender “competition” was put out within the team, eventually leading to the decision to run rear wing-less.

“Olivier [Jansonnie, Le Mans team technical director]’s team explained what are the limitations and also the opportunities of this new regulation,” Hossan said during the 9X8’s virtual launch.

Peugeot hypercar rear

Peugeot has highlighted the other areas it will find the right downforce for the car

Peugeot Sport

“Based on that we opened a design competition internally, in order to have many proposals. We selected the one proposal that we think can really achieve.

“This design made a clear breakthrough and this is what we have here.”

“There is, in the regulation[s], an opportunity to achieve the required level of performance without really the need of a rear wing,” further explained Jansonnie.

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“We also think we can it use as an advantage, and it was something in our discussion with Matthias’ [Hossan, Peugeot Design Director] team that was clearly in the direction of the new ‘breakthrough’ that he was mentioning.”

Later on in the launch, the pair elaborated on the reasons for going wingless. One of the biggest factors is the required downforce-drag ratio of 4:1 and the manner in which constructors are allowed to achieve this.

“The LMH regulation is a new,” Jansonnie explained. “It opens many new opportunities. We started from zero, and we first spent quite some time reading the regulation carefully.

“We realised that we have a fixed target of downforce to achieve and that we have almost complete freedom to do it on the shape [of the car], a lot more freedom than we used to have in the past.

Peugeot hypercar doors open

Peugeot stress that the actual race car will be very similar to this working model

Peugeot Sport

“This combination of these fixed targets and freedom makes you think and try to put some new ideas on the table. What we found in the end is that we can achieve the level of performance required without the rear wing.”

“This freedom makes you think and try to put some new ideas on the table” Olivier Jansonnie, Peugeot sport technical director

Pushed further by as to why Peugeot Sport made this choice, Jansonnie said: “The key thing in the decision to not to use the rear wing is to find something to replace it, not really in terms of overall performance, but in terms of balance adjustment.

“We have a couple of ideas, which we need to develop on track. That part of the development is very sensitive to track testing. So at the moment we have some options.

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“It’s basically the opportunity of using differently the bodywork of the car, that’s coming from this regulation. The fact that the regulation is a lot less restrictive on the shape of the underfloor as well, and the concept of the underfloor as, and even the rear upper bodywork was also worked out in a in a different manner. And that’s how we achieve that.”

Much was made by Peugeot CEO Linda Jackson and head of its parent company Stellantis’ motorsport division Jean-Marc Finot of that fact the new 9X8 maintained the brand’s “DNA”,  and this was backed up by Hossan.

“We found that this was a great opportunity to not have this rear wing in order to have a specific signature and make this car really iconic,” he said.

However, Jansommie was also keen to emphasise that this iteration of the 9X8 is not simply a show car designed to generate headlines, and that the actual race machine that rolls out will be very similar.

Peugoet Hypercar 2021

Jokes are already abound in the team’s aero department

Peugeot Sport

“This is not a simple design exercise, it should be very close,” he said. “The surfaces of this car that we have now are basically what the race car was about two or three months ago when we had to finish this model. Since then we’ve carried on developing our concept. So there’s been some changes but nothing major, at least the main concept is there.”