Peugeot said that it expected to have its twin-turbo V6 engine running on the dyno by April, with the hybrid system integrated by November, and the car running on track before the end of the year.
Olivier Jansonnie, technical director of Peugeot’s WEC programme, said that the team had an initial shortlist of 40 to 50 drivers, which it then whittled down by comparing their race data.
“We looked at their statistics over the last 5 years in every kind of high-level endurance racing,” said Jansonnie. “From that list, doing this mathematical analysis, we selected a shortlist of 12 drivers. We interviewed all those 12 drivers.”
Assessing them on team spirit, endurance racing experience and their abilities in energy management — crucial for the hybrid car — Peugeot then picked its final six.
Di Resta, who in addition to winning Le Mans LMP2 also finished runner-up in the class in this year’s World Endurance Championship, spoke about what attracted him to the Peugeot project.
“I think the biggest thing is the start of this new adventure, certainly with the introduction of the new rules, certainly the top class of WEC and Le Mans in the manufacturer’s interest,” he said.
“When you look at Le Mans it’s a team effort, and the driver has the easiest part of the job, when you look at it. It really pushes everyone to another sense that you don’t realise you have.
“When you have experience and go through it at Le Mans, it’s something that’s very special when you cross that line and get that job done.
Last year Peugeot announced the details of the power train, utilising a twin-turbo, 2.6-litre V6 engine. The 671bhp petrol engine will power the rear wheels, while a 268bhp electric motor provides drive at the front.
The 165kg powertrain is apparently influenced by the diesel-powered 908 line, which won Le Mans in 2009, as well as the four-cylinder turbo WRC car run by sister company Citroën.
Toyota has already unveiled its Hypercar set to race this year, whilst Glickenhaus are also set to enter. Alpine Signatech will enter with a ‘grandfathered’ LMP1 car, whilst it appears ByKolles will not have their Hypercar ready for this year’s WEC season.
Audi and Porsche have confirmed they will enter Le Mans and WEC under the LMDh rules, designed to have convergence with the American IMSA series.