The Friday of Le Mans 24 Hours week is the traditional point where manufacturers make their big announcement and, despite the peculiar circumstances of this year, with a compressed schedule and no fans, 2020 is no different. Peugeot, which is due to return to top-flight endurance racing in 2022, revealed more details of its yet-to-be-named Le Mans Hypercar (LMH).
Peugeot has opted to build a car to the Le Mans Hypercar regulations. Despite there now being a choice between LMH and the IMSA LMDh platforms for manufacturers wanting to compete at Le Mans, Peugeot opted for the former. The marque says this decision was dictated by several criteria, one being the aerodynamic freedom the ruleset affords. This makes it possible for manufacturers to incorporate aesthetic details into the design that would not be feasible on a pure prototype machine. In practice, this means Peugeot’s design department will have a much greater role in the car’s conception, with Peugeot Sport’s aerodynamicists tasked with ensuring the final form hits the aerodynamic targets for the class’s BoP formula.
Olivier Jansonnie, technical director for Peugeot Sport’s WEC program, outlined the details of the car, currently in the concept stage, “The car will be four-wheel drive, equipped – as required by the regulations – with an electric motor and a maximum power of 200kW on the front axle. The total power level will be identical to that of a 100% thermal two-wheel drive car (500kW or approximately 680hp) that will be distributed between the two axles. In comparison with what we currently know in LMP1, the car will be heavier so as to be compatible with road vehicles. It will also be longer, 5m compared with 4.65m for LM P1, and wider, 2m rather than 1.9m.
“This regulation is also different because it incorporates a performance balance. It certainly sets limits, but also allows room for many technical possibilities in our development, specifically on the general shape, as long as a certain overall aerodynamic efficiency is not exceeded. This will be measured in a 1:1 scale wind tunnel and which will be part of the BOP.
“To date, we have confirmed part of the aerodynamic concept, the engine framework has been decided and we have chosen the functionality of the hybrid system and its fundamental design. We still have several steps left before our debut in endurance in 2022, in studies, the production of prototypes, and finally, affirmation on the bench and on the track.”
In the video covering the announcement, shown above, the technical content begins after the five-minute mark.