Peugeot rules out 9X8 road-going hypercar – for now
Monday 12th July, 2021 - 7:40am
A road-going version of Peugeot’s 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar is unlikely – at least in the short-term. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t eventually arrive, with Peugeot CEO Linda Jackson not ruling it out either.
Speaking at the reveal of the 9X8 last week, Jackson was asked if and when we’d see a road-going version of the car and said the short-term priority is winning on the track.
“It’s far, far too early to say,” Jackson said. “We’re just revealing our Hypercar. Let’s concentrate on one thing at a time. We want to win first.”
The idea of turning the 9X8 into a road car isn’t far-fetched as Peugeot’s Le Mans rival, Toyota, will introduce a road-legal version of the TS050, where it will be known as the GR Super Sport. Aston Martin was also planning a version of its Valkyrie Le Mans racer that would wear numberplates.
The 9X8 is powered by a 500kW 2.6-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine with an electric motor paired to a seven-speed transmission and all-wheel drive. Jackson said the idea of racing at Le Mans was to use it as a laboratory for future road car technology – and the 500kW V6 would make a highly-suitable supercar set-up.
One of the most notable aspects of the new Le Mans Hypercar regulations is the freedom it allows car makers to shape the top surface of the bodywork with the brand’s styling, as opposed to shaping it in the windtunnel. That’s because the rules allow for greater underbody aerodynamics, which has led to the wingless-look of the 9X8.
The styling of the 9X8 is clearly in line with the Peugeot road car range – for example the front and rear lights are designed with the French brand’s “three claw-like strokes” – which make it look far more ‘on brand’ than any recent Le Mans Prototype.
Peugeot Design Director Matthias Hossann oversaw the styling of the 9X8 and introduced key road car elements beyond the lights. One major area he and his team focused on injecting more Peugeot design DNA was the cabin, which unlike a typical race car includes colour and trim.
Instead of being black or carbon, the interior of the 9X8 features Selenium Grey and Kryptonite yellow highlights that are taken directly from the 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered model.
“We wanted to take a special approach to the cockpit which, until now, has tended to be a purely functional and indistinctive aspect of racing cars, with no brand identity whatsoever,” Hossann said. “The combination of our colour scheme and Peugeot’s i-Cockpit interior styling signature have provided the 9X8’s cockpit with a distinctive feel and make it immediately identifiable as a Peugeot in on-board camera shots.”