Peugeot are struggling with rear end traction issues on its unique wingless 9X8 at Sebring, according to Stellantis VP motorsport Jean-Marc Finot.
“We have some traction issues [at the rear]. It’s very difficult to put power on the floor, with our car,” he told reporters after qualifying had taken place, where Peugeot qualified for the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 1000 Miles of Sebring as the slowest of the hybrid Hypercars, in eighth and ninth place.
Finot continued, “We made big progress since the beginning of the week, but it’s not enough.”
Additionally, Finot did not think there was much time to be gained between qualifying and the race.
“I think the best we have today will be the best we have tomorrow. But it’s our own race; everything can happen, we have to be our best and to take any opportunities.”
Notably, Peugeot made the decision last year to focus on reliability testing at circuits around Europe, rather than test at Sebring, known for its unique, bumpy, concrete surface. When asked whether forgoing testing at Sebring may have been aa mistake, the Frenchman replied jovially.
“I would say that after the end of the season!” Finot replied, laughing.
However, on account of Sebring’s uniqueness, Peugeot isn’t taking its performance to heart compared to the other LMH manufacturers.
“This is a very specific track. Maybe at Spa or Portimao we will have some outcome. But today it’s very tricky to make a ranking, considering our lack of experience with this track and the specificity of this track,” he replied.
Finally, when asked about Peugeot’s reliability — a significant issue last year — Finot was hopeful the team has managed to fix the problems which plagued the 9X8 in 2022. However, he didn’t rule out Sebring’s uniqueness causing new problems.
“I think in this race we can find a new problem. This 1000 mile 8 hour race will be very similar to the stress in a 24 hour race. So we could find out something new tomorrow.”
All that said, Finot noted the target was to finish. “The target is to finish, and to prove the reliability of the car. We will seize any opportunities but we know, compared to the frontrunners, we will not be the best,” the Frenchman concluded.