Why Peugeot's 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar has no rear wing

Le Mans News

Peugeot has explained the design "breakthrough" that allows its radical new Le Mans Hypercar, the 9X8, to run without a rear wing

Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar overhead shot

Peugeot is looking for more Le Mans success with its 9X8 Hypercar


Peugeot has shed light on the aerodynamic “breakthrough” which led to the design of its radical new 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar.

Now revealed in full after several teasers, the car is a significant departure from the more conventional looking Toyota and Glickenhaus Hypercars already racing in the World Endurance Championship.

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Olivier Jansonnie, the Le Mans team technical director, pair elaborated on how an aerodynamic discovery lead to the car 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 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.

“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.”

Pug rear

The 9X8 features no rear wing, instead exploiting underbody ground-effect downforce


Pushed further by as to why Peugeot Sport made this choice, Jansonnie said: “The key thing in the decision to not 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 is that the regulation is a lot less restrictive on the shape the concept and shape of the underfloor, as well as the rear upper bodywork which was also worked out in a in a different manner. And that’s how we achieved that.”

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

Pug rear 2

Peugeot has not yet confirmed when the car will make its debut


“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.”