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Pista – Team Peugeot TotalEnergies up for the huge challenge of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

After last year’s Centenary edition drew a record crowd of 325,000 fans, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a sell-out once again this year, as tickets for the 2024 event were snapped up in just a few days last November.

Let’s face it, racing enthusiasts have every reason to come: with twenty-three prototypes and nine prestigious car manufacturers competing in the elite Hypercar class, they can expect plenty of action on the Circuit de la Sarthe – the 24 Hour-race track – the longest (13.626km) and the fastest (average speed in excess of 240 km/h) circuit on the FIA World Endurance Championship calendar.

“Le Mans is hardwired in the DNA of the PEUGEOT brand. The memories and emotions felt at this iconic event stretch across the generations,” maintained Jean-Marc Finot, Stellantis Motorsport Senior VP. “The enthusiasm we saw at Le Mans in 2023 showed just how strongly the fans feel about PEUGEOT.

We come back this year more determined than ever. The team has worked tirelessly for over a year in order to make it to the starting grid on 15 June. This year’s race will be historic in terms of the size and quality of the field. It’s something that is truly unique in the history of racing and the PEUGEOT brand is incredibly proud to be a part of it! The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a unique human adventure,” added Jean-Marc Finot.

Team Peugeot TotalEnergies has entered two 2024 versions of the PEUGEOT 9X8 in the race. It intends to showcase the car’s reliability and the performance gains made by this radically changed Hypercar, which made its competitive début at the 6 Hours of Imola in early April, after just ten months of development.

“We are really pleased that we managed to run this car for the first time at Imola,” admitted Olivier Jansonnie, Peugeot Sport Technical Director. “Developing a Hypercar prototype, 90% of which is new in terms of bodywork, aerodynamics and powertrain, in just ten months – with all the production lead-times for parts and tooling – is a genuinely impressive achievement, made possible by the contribution by everyone at Team Peugeot TotalEnergies.”

On its competitive début, the PEUGEOT 9X8 2024 secured the team’s first WEC manufacturers’ points of the season with ninth place at the 6 Hours of Imola. Three weeks later, the PEUGEOT 9X8 2024 scored another top-ten finish at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, despite coming up against some very formidable competition.

“The in-race handling and performance gains were very much in line with our expectations and what we observed during winter testing,” confirmed Olivier Jansonnie. “There is no doubt we still need to improve, however. With around twenty Hypercars on the track, we have seen how close it is in the midfield and how the tiniest detail can make all the difference. At Imola and Spa, we finished ahead of quicker cars by having an excellent strategy and through the hard work of everyone in the team. We maximised the outcome if you look at the performance of the car, even if we didn’t really get the result we were hoping for.”

“Historically, Le Mans is a one-off race,” explained Olivier Jansonnie. “There’s the car, of course – its speed and reliability – but it’s also about team preparation, race strategy, etc. Our preparations began in July 2023 after thoroughly debriefing the 91st edition, looking at what worked well, where we could improve and so on. Last year was our first time back at Le Mans in a long time and this year, we’ll definitely be better prepared.”

The weather was very changeable in 2023 and Team Peugeot TotalEnergies managed to make the most of the tricky conditions. The no.94 PEUGEOT 9X8 led the race for 34 laps in the middle of the night and both cars made it across the finishing line of the world’s greatest race.

“We’re not thinking about a target in terms of result,” insisted Olivier Jansonnie. “Our only focus is on trying to ensure the race goes as smoothly as possible and that we see maximum reliability. We’ll have a clearer idea of where we stand as regards performance after the Test day and we’ll adapt our approach to the race accordingly.”

The Test day is due to be held on Sunday 9 June. Teams and drivers will have six hours of track time to get their bearings (again) on the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans (13.626km). Three free practice sessions and qualifying will be held on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June, followed by the Hyperpole contested by the top eight Hypercars. The 92nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be officially started on Saturday 15 June at 4pm by 1998 World Cup winner, Zinédine Zidane.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a huge motorsport party that brings together fans, families and racing enthusiasts from all horizons. PEUGEOT hopes that this event will be a great sporting festival. PEUGEOT’s Fan Zone will provide fans with a place to meet up, follow the race, enjoy the party and dance to DJ sets. It will be an opportunity for fans to come together and share an enjoyable, relaxing experience cheering on PEUGEOT.

Linda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of the PEUGEOT brand
“PEUGEOT is competing at Le Mans in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the second year running.
Last year, when we returned to Le Mans for the Centenary race, one thing stood out above all else… PEUGEOT’s fans, our Lions! The atmosphere and the support we felt from the PEUGEOT Fan Zone was incredible and we’re very grateful for that. It also reminded us that Le Mans is about celebrating and sharing our passion for motorsport and endurance racing with our customers and fans.
Team Peugeot TotalEnergies has worked relentlessly to develop the 9X8 2024. We are a united team, determined to perform and stand out. It has been fantastic to see the progress made at the races I have attended since Le Mans last year and especially to see the enthusiasm and excitement about the unveiling of the PEUGEOT 9X8 2024. And that brings us to Le Mans. PEUGEOT has a strong track record in endurance racing, with three outright wins at Le Mans (1992, 1993 & 2009). Clearly, our aim is to win here, of course, and add a fourth title to this series of victories! It will definitely be a difficult challenge, with a field of 23 Hypercars, new manufacturers and the standard being very high. If there is one thing I have learned about endurance racing over the years, however, it’s that you never know how a race is going to turn out. With our six talented drivers competing in the two PEUGEOT 9X8 2024 Hypercars, a committed, hard-working team and great support from our fans, anything can happen. It would be an incredible achievement for PEUGEOT to finish on the top step of the podium.

The FIA WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans continue to provide a fantastic arena in which to showcase the innovative work that we are doing at PEUGEOT. We’re proud to be back at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France and I can’t wait to share this experience with the fans.”

Paul di Resta (no. 94 PEUGEOT 9X8)
“I think the Hypercars are built to race at Le Mans. This is where they can really express themselves, racing at full speed in Sector 2. With the 2024 version, I think we can compete with the big boys. That’s certainly what we will be looking to do. I think the key thing will be to have a clean race: stay on the same lap as the leader, keep fighting and show our determination right to the end. I can’t wait to get out there and relive the special moments we enjoyed last year: the rush of adrenalin you had in the team, the emotion at the end of the race and the feeling of having achieved a performance that exceeded our hopes and expectations. We know it’s going to be very, very difficult, but we’re going to do our very best. It’s hard to put into terms what it would mean to win Le Mans, but winning Le Mans with a French manufacturer must be incredible.”

Loïc Duval (no. 94 PEUGEOT 9X8)
“My greatest memory from 2023 was seeing tears in the eyes of everyone after we crossed the finishing line. And also, the fact that at 3am, at the halfway stage, we were still in the top three. It was a huge feat for the whole team. Unfortunately, we went off the track and then had a few technical issues… This race is special because Le Mans only comes around once a year. It’s like a final, a World Cup final for example, a final for which everyone prepares throughout the year. It’s also to do with the format: racing for 24 hours is something very different. It’s hard on the drivers, the teams and on the cars. It’s a great challenge. Le Mans is the greatest race in the world, and there is so much history here… There are those who have raced here, then there are all those who would like to take part. This year, we have a new car, pretty much. Not 100% new, but there are a lot of differences with the previous version. It won’t be easy because we still have a lot to learn compared to our rivals, who have been driving the same car for one or two seasons. We’re still learning about our car. We’re fairly pleased with testing and the first couple of races. There has clearly been a performance gain and we have also worked well on improving reliability. That is often a decisive factor at Le Mans.”

Mikkel Jensen (no. 93 PEUGEOT 9X8)
“It was very special for me last year because it was the first time I’d competed in the elite Hypercar class with PEUGEOT, a French brand, with the full backing and support of the French fans throughout the week… And I also got plenty of support and encouragement from all the Danish fans, who come to Le Mans in big numbers. This will be the PEUGEOT 9X8 2024’s first race at Le Mans. We are more ambitious this year than in 2023, even though the competition is going to be even stiffer. It will be harder to finish on the podium this year than it was last year. But we are just going to focus on our work to try and improve everything. The team did a great job in the last few races, with no errors during the pit stops, good strategies, and so on. We are therefore going to concentrate on the race. Before that, we’ll need to find the right set-ups for the Test days so we are among the front-runners. It’s impossible to predict the final outcome, but we are going to do our very best, enjoy it and we’ll see where we end up…”

Nico Müller (no. 93 PEUGEOT 9X8)
“I remember leading the race at around midnight in fairly tricky conditions. It was pretty special to be leading the field in the Centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We would have loved for that feeling to last a little longer but getting both cars over the finishing line was very pleasing in itself on PEUGEOT’s first race back at Le Mans. It’s the greatest race in the world and it is inextricably tied to the history of the brand. The track is a total one-off and you can only race here once a year. So just lining up at the start of this incredible race is special in itself. Fighting to win it was an honour! We have worked hard to improve the package and the 2024 version of the PEUGEOT 9X8 certainly has more potential. It is more comfortable to drive on the limit, so that should help us at Le Mans. We have prepared thoroughly and testing went well. The team has put in a lot of effort and we’ve spent a lot of time… The competition will be incredibly stiff, we know that, but we want to fight at the front.”

Stoffel Vandoorne (no. 94 PEUGEOT 9X8)
“I was a reserve driver for PEUGEOT at Le Mans last year. It was very interesting, but this year is going to be really different because I will be driving the PEUGEOT 9X8 2024! Before I started competing in Endurance racing, I didn’t realise just how big this race was. Last year, I began to appreciate the scale of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s a long week, it’s stressful and you don’t get much sleep, but I loved it! We have a new car since Imola and, unfortunately, I missed the race in Spa because of a clash with the Formula E calendar. There is still a lot to learn about this PEUGEOT 9X8 2024, but we have been lucky enough to compete in two events before racing at Le Mans. I feel ready. I have already competed in several Endurance races and I have done a lot of testing. I’m ready to tackle this challenge. We have to be in the game and fight with the best, as we did in Qatar. With so many Hypercars on the track, it will be a 24-hour sprint where everyone will be pushing to the max all the way to the finish. But we’ll be in the mix…”

Jean-Eric Vergne, (no. 93 PEUGEOT 9X8)
“First and foremost, Le Mans is a one-off track. We don’t drive on racetracks that are 13 or 14 kilometres long or that are so demanding very often. The track is part and parcel of the history of this unique race. As a driver, you have to be in good shape, obviously, but it’s more a question of preparation for everyone in the team, the mechanics, and the cars, of course. We are aiming high, even if the last two races didn’t go exactly to plan. If we can manage to avoid having any mechanical issues during the race then that may well prove decisive. I also hope we will have the pace to fight for victory. That’s my aim and I think that’s how the team feels too.”