Peugeot will enter the first division of the WEC with the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar, ending a decade of absence from top endurance racing after the untimely end of its previous 908 LMP1 program in early 2012.
The new generation of LMH cars may be slower and less complex than its predecessors, but it presents its own set of technical challenges, with Toyota on the brink of an embarrassing defeat at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year due to issues. of fuel pressure with the two of its GR010 hybrids.
Duval therefore believes Peugeot will struggle to be as competitive as Toyota in its debut season with the 9X8 next year, stressing that it will face a rival who has a wealth of experience building championship-winning prototypes.
“When you see Toyota, they have the experience of the last few years, even though it’s a new car, the hybrid system and stuff like that, they have a lot of knowledge, so it always takes time to achieve reliability.” , The 2013 Le Mans winner, Duval, told Autosport in Bahrain last month.
âYou also have to find performance because performance and reliability don’t mix, so it’s always difficult.
âIt is difficult to be as efficient or even better than Toyota and to have immediate reliability. If it were that simple, a lot of people would come on board and be there right away.
“It’s always difficult and you can’t target this from the start. It always takes time, which is to be expected. We will also have surprises. Of course, finding problems that you don’t expect and that’s part of it. of the development of a car. “
Photo by: Peugeot Sport
Peugeot recently revealed an image from the 9X8 tests in an undisclosed location with a modified tail end (above), after being convinced it would be able to drive the car without the rear spoiler.
It is unclear whether this could delay the start of Peugeot’s WEC program next year, with the French automaker having previously said it will make the call regarding when it will rejoin the field in the 2022 season after its first few. tests with the 9X8.
Duval says he would like to see Peugeot make its first Le Mans appearance since 2011 next season, but believes the decision will depend on the level of development of the car by the middle of the year.
âIt always depends on how the car was born, how it performed from the start, how much development you have to do, it’s hard to say for sure,â said Duval.
âIt would be great to have the car at Le Mans for next year and I think it’s still the manufacturers’ goal to be at Le Mans.
âBut you also have to make sure your car is at the level you want, so at the moment I don’t know what’s in the pipeline.
“Of course everyone tries to be on track as soon as possible to run, but you never know until you start development how long it’s going to take.”