Peugeot has said that it will not be present at the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Sebring as it continues to develop and test its Le Mans Hypercar.
The French manufacturer is working through an intensive testing programme with the 9×8 after it completed its initial shakedown in December 2021.
According to Peugeot, the testing programme ‘will pick up further speed in 2022’, which includes work in both the simulator and during monthly track sessions before the car is ready for homologation and its subsequent race debut.
Stellantis Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot confirmed in a statement that the opening round in Florida, currently set for March, will come too early for the 9×8’s race debut.
Peugeot is signed up as a full-season entry with both cars and will have to compete at the second round at Spa to be allowed to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
“Team PEUGEOT TotalEnergies will not attend the first of the six rounds that make up the 2022 calendar which kicks off at Sebring in Florida,” said Finot.
“The 9X8 will make its race debut based on its level of readiness, reliability and competitiveness as agreed with the championship’s organisers who we will keep regularly updated as our development programme progresses.”
“We could have opted for attending selected races only without committing to the season. That would have been possible but less coherent.”
“Instead, we have chosen an approach that will enable the team to be fully immersed in the discipline, resulting in much closer collaboration with the organisers even if the 9X8 doesn’t contest every race as our development work and the homologation process continue.”
Along with the announcement that it would miss Sebring, Peugeot also released new images of the V6 hybrid Hypercar in testing at Motorland Aragon in Spain.
These images notably show that Peugeot is continuing to run the 9×8 without a rear wing, as it was shown when it was unveiled in mid-2021.
After the rollout, it shared an image with the rear of the car hidden, leading some to believe that plans to run the car wingless had been abandoned. For now, it appears that those rumours are unfounded.
“This configuration is permitted by the ACO/FIA hypercar regulations,” said technical director Olivier Jansonnie .“Our calculations and wind tunnel work have confirmed the pertinence of our decision to run without a rear wing.”
“Along with the developments and settings this option calls for, we expect it to be validated as we test at different circuits with differing characteristics.”