Plans for Peugeot to race its P2011 Le Mans 24 Hours challenger as a diesel-electric hybrid were abandoned straight after its defeat in last year’s race.
Peugeot Sport boss Olivier Quesnel revealed at the launch of the second-generation 908 HDI last week that it had decided to run the car without energy-retrieval systems after a series of engine failures thwarted its bid for a second consecutive Le Mans victory last june. This constituted a U-turn for a manufacturer that had stated at the beginning of last year that it would race with a hybrid in 2011.
“After what happened at Le Mans last year, the board said, ‘You must make sure you win; you have to focus on one thing?” explained Quesnel. Who conﬁrmed that the new car had not tested in hybrid conﬁguration.
“The hybrid is no longer a priority,”he said.
“We were not sure that a. hybrid would be more competitive and it would have been extra complication for nothing.”
Quesnel stressed that the second-generation 908 would race as a hybrid in the future. He said the hybrid project was on hold until after Le Mans, but suggested that the 3.7-litre turbo diesel 908 would run with an energy- retrieval system in 2012.
The new Peugeot, up to now known by its 90X codename, has retained the 908 nomenclature because of the successes of the original car. Company marketing and communications director Xavier Peugeot said at the launch that the 908 had become “the standard bearer for the entire range’!
Peugeot has retained its nine-strong driver line-up for its three-car attack on the 24 Hours. Stephane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny and Anthony Davidson will contest every round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup events, while Sebastien Bourdais will do six of the seven.
Quesnel said: “If we want to win the ILMC, we cannot change the line-up every time.”