Peugeot 908

The reigning Intercontinental Le Mans Cup champions, Team Peugeot Total will be racing for the first time the new Peugeot 908, in the 12 Hours of Sebring, next weekend.

Team Peugeot Total has entered two cars for next weekend’s race, the first round of the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. The first car, racing as No. 7 will be driven by the 2010 driver team champions, Alexander Wurz, Marc Gené and Anthony Davidson. The second car will carry the No. 8 and will be driven by Franck Montagny, Stéphane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy.

ACCUMULATE EXPERIENCE

After making its first track appearance on 27 July 2010, and then being presented to the media and general public on 3 February of this year, the new Peugeot 908 will be taking part in its very first race in Sebring (USA) on the 19th March.

Powered by a particulate filter equipped V8 3.7-litre, HDi turbo-charged diesel engine, developing some 550hp, Peugeot Sport’s latest creation will be one of only a few cars in the LMP1 line-up to be built to the new 2011 regulations.

As part of Team Peugeot Total’s planning and technical development programme, two Peugeot 908s will compete in the Sebring race. “Our main objective in the United States is to gather together as much experience of the new car as we can”, stresses Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport’s Technical Director. “The 908 is a completely new car and like any new car, we’ll need to work on it and spend time driving it in order, among other things, to develop its reliability and pace. We’ll therefore be following a structured programme, aiming to complete the full 12 Hours so we can rack up plenty of track time and thus acquire valuable information about the car. We also need to learn how to get the best out of the car. This is what we have been doing in private testing, but now we need to do it in race conditions. From both a technical and team perspective, there is still a lot to get to grasps with on all levels”.

A COMPLEX RACE

With a total of 56 competitors, the 12 Hours of Sebring promises to be a testing race. “It’s an unusual event, where there is always a lot of incidents in the race”, continues Olivier Quesnel, Peugeot Sport Director. “It’s a typically American race with a lot of safety car periods and different rules to those at Le Mans, especially in terms of pit stops. It can all change in a flash! So it’s a great test for our entire team – the drivers, engineers and mechanics – where the challenge is to perfect your preparation in what can sometimes be fairly extreme conditions. We need to be ready for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, whilst keeping a close eye on the championship”.

Winner of the inaugural ILMC endurance championship title, contested over just three rounds last year, but also the winner at Sebring in 2010, Team Peugeot Total is competing in the full 2011 race calendar. This year’s ILMC has been expanded to seven rounds for 2011, the undoubted highlight being the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “First and foremost, our aim is to win the race in June”, insists Olivier Quesnel.

TWO LEADING DRIVER TEAMS

In the No. 7 car, recognisable by its blue rear-view mirrors, the winning driver team at last season’s 12 Hours of Sebring lines up again this year with Marc Gené, Anthony Davidson and Alexander Wurz. Marc Gené will drive the car in qualifying and Alexander Wurz will be behind the wheel for the race start. In the No. 8 car, with white rear-view mirrors, Stéphane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny are joined by Pedro Lamy. Stéphane Sarrazin will handle qualifying and Franck Montagny will line up at the race start. The 12 Hours of Sebring will get underway on Saturday 19 March at 10.30am (local time).