On March 17th, Team Peugeot TotalEnergies will hit the track of Sebring for the launch of the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) season 11. It will be the very first apparition of the PEUGEOT 9X8 on the American soil and on the iconic track of Sebring.
As the result of the experience acquired during the three races done in 2022, and thanks to more than 10000km covered during winter testing, technical evolutions were made to the 9X8 to optimise its reliability. As Jean-Marc Finot, Stellantis Motorsport Senior VP mentioned: “We have done a lot of kilometres to improve the performance of the car and validate its reliability. We are really enthusiastic to start this season and the team is ready to fight. We are really proud to be part of the Championship and to face major manufacturers and names of endurance racing.”
This season will be highly competitive, with the arrival of some of the world’s biggest manufacturers in the Le Mans Hypercar class that will be comprised of eleven cars. The goal for the Team Peugeot TotalEnergies is clear, “to fight for the victory, at every races. We also know that nothing should be taken for granted and it will be hard as we are not the only one on the grid with this aim”, adds Jean-Marc Finot.
The Prologue, also in Florida, will be held on the 11th and 12th of March, ahead of the first race of the FIA WEC season. Those tests will allow the drivers and the team to know better the specificities of the track that will be very challenging for the #93 and #94 PEUGEOT 9X8. “To start the season in Florida, just after the winter, is a great opportunity. This bumpy track is very demanding for the suspension system and the drive train. Even if the race is shorter, to race Sebring without any problem is one of the key elements to tackle the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We know that it won’t be enough as nothing can replace a 24-hour race, but it still will be positive, says Olivier Jansonnie, Peugeot Sport technical director.
To achieve its goals and to fight at the top all season long, the team will be supported by valued partners: TotalEnergies, Capgemini, Yahoo, Marelli, Établissement Peugeot Frères, Sparco and Jack and Jones. The line-ups of the two PEUGEOT 9X8 will remain the same with Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne at the wheel of the #93 PEUGEOT and Loïc Duval, Gustavo Menezes and Nico Müller in the #94 PEUGEOT.
The date is now set for the 1000 miles of Sebring and the launch of the 2023 Team Peugeot TotalEnergies programme and the FIA World Endurance Championship season 11.
WHAT THEY SAID
Paul Di Resta – PEUGEOT #93:
“Sebring will be a huge test for us as our journey in endurance started only a year ago, and it will be our first full FIA WEC season. We will have to take our gloves off and go and fight the competition and be the best we can. The preparation has been fully focussing on the cars’ reliability, performance and testing with endurance tests. We worked a lot with the team and our main focus was to improve compared to last year. This season is going to be a huge test with ups and downs along the way and the qualifying and race results will show the level of performance that we are able to reach. We will be where we are, and it will be about how we fight and how we work to make it better.”
Mikkel Jensen – PEUGEOT #93:
“This season, it we will be interesting to be racing for the first time with six other manufacturers. We will have to optimise our own work, look towards ourselves, and do the best we can with the car performance, the pitstops, the reliability of the teamwork and not to look too much at the competition.
“The first race will also be the first time that we are on track altogether with the other new competitors so it’s hard to tell if it will be an interesting race or not. Sebring is a track that not many teams have been testing on so it will be interesting to see how long it takes us to get up to speed. It’s a cool track, I have been there three times before, so I like it, it’s a surprising track with all the bumps. Don’t expect to get a perfect lap in Sebring, it’s a crazy place!”
Jean-Eric Vergne – PEUGEOT #93
“I think it’s great for the WEC, and in general, to have so many manufacturers. It will generate a lot of interest for the sport and as a driver we feel like we are part of a new generation, a new era.
“I think that this season we have to have achievable goals and it will be possible to set them only after the first race in Sebring. Today, we cannot compare our team to the other as we have never competed against them. It will be the first full FIA WEC season for the team, and we will have to face a fierce competition. It is important to get better and to all look in the same direction. We have to get better race after race taking into consideration all the people in the team, the outside factors, all the parameters that we can think of to be in a position to win races. Personally, I want that at the end of the season, we can all look at each other and be able to say that we have done our best.”
Loïc Duval – PEUGEOT #94
“Sebring is an iconic and great circuit in the calendar. It is an old airfield with all kind of surfaces and above all it’s a really bumpy track as everyone knows. This track is really hard on the cars, the grip is quite good in general but you have those big concrete patch, holes and bumps that makes it quite unique. But one more time, it’s a great meeting and this race is now a classic in endurance racing.
“This season will be very exciting because beyond marking the return of Peugeot, we will enter in the golden era of endurance racing with the Hypercars. It is quite sexy to have a grid with wo many manufacturers, great teams, beautiful cars and top drivers. There will be a lot of fight on track so I’m really excited and I cannot wait to start the season. To be back in WEC, in the main class is also important for me. I have left the championship in 2016 and to be back with a chance of winning the title and the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall it’s something wonderful.”
Gustavo Menezes – PEUGEOT #94:
“It’s nice to see so many manufacturers, iconic brands competing in the FIA WEC and at Le Mans. The entry list is very competitive, and it looks like it’s going to grow even more over the next years so it’s really exciting. This winter with the team we spent quite a lot of time in the simulator, we’ve also had the opportunity to do some winter testing throughout Europe and at home, I spent my time training to be ready for the season. This year will be extremely competitive, everyone will be bringing the best of their capability to the track and we will do the same. We know that it won’t be easy, so we will arrive humble but determined to do the best we can.”
Nico Müller – PEUGEOT #94:
“Since last season race in Bahrain we spent time in the simulator, and we had some tests during wintertime. We not only drove and developed the car, but we also spent time off track together to understand better each other which is really valuable. 2023 will be a golden era in the world of sportscar, it will also be the Centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and that is definitely the ultimate goal, to fight for a victory there. It will be a challenging season with strong competitors joining the championship but we compete in order to win and this year will make no exception. I’m proud to be part of Team Peugeot TotalEnergies first full FIA WEC campaign, it’s a privilege for me and hopefully we will be at the front to fight for the title.”