Peugeot’s return to top-level endurance racing should honor its illustrious past
Peugeot, the proud manufacturer that stopped at nothing to win the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans in the early ’90s and again in the late ’00s and early ’10s, will be back at Le Mans in the summer of 2023 as part of a fully-fledged assault on the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2022 onwards. Peugeot, like Toyota, will compete with a bespoke hybrid hypercar not based on a current production model and the work will be carried out in-house by Peugeot Sport, although it’s believed outside partners such as ORECA could offer some assistance. Peugeot will thus make its debut in the FIA WEC in the third season of the new ’Hypercar’ regulations that come into effect next year for the 2020-2021 season.
Peugeot Sport, first with Frenchman Jean Todt at the helm and then with his pal Olivier Quesnel, has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times since it first took part in the French race all the way back in 1926. The company has also enjoyed success as an engine supplier, powering the early Pescarolos as well as the WM P88 Group C car, the fastest car to ever race at Le Mans that reached a top speed of 253 mph in 1988. With almost a century of history at Circuit de la Sarthe by the time Peugeot Sport’s new hypercar will debut in 2022, it’s safe to say the French automaker set its own bar very high for its comeback. In the light of this challenge - one that the French engineers most definitely relish - let’s take a quick look back at Peugeot’s history at Le Mans and in endurance racing as a whole.
New Hypercar Rules Could See Koengisegg Race The Jesko At Le Mans
We first saw the Koenigsegg Jesko at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. There, the replacement of the Agera RS, the current world’s fastest production road car, gathered quite the crowd, not least because of the Swedish automaker’s insane performance claims: that the Jesko puts out 1,578 horses on E85 biofuel or that a low-downforce version could reach 300 mph. Soon, though, we may see the Jesko do other things that the Agera RS never dreamt of doing besides traveling at 300 mph, such as going to the races. What races? The ones in the World Endurance Championship.
The Koenigsegg Jesko, a limited-run hypercar that could reset our standards for what’s fast and what’s outrageously fast, is merely the latest proof that Christian Von Koenigsegg and his motley crew means business. The Swedes thought that having a car in their stable that could do 278 mph on a public road (not on a gimmicky oval like Nardo) is not enough and, as such, the Jesko betters the Agera RS in almost all conceivable ways. It’s so incredible that if Koenigsegg does decide to turn it into a racing car, it won’t race with the likes of the Ferrari 488 GTB, the Aston Martin Vantage, the Chevy Corvette and all of the other GTs, instead gunning for the overall honors courtesy of the new Prototype Hypercar rules that will come into effect in 2020.
5 Interesting Stories From the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 87th edition of the legendary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans brought tears of joys in the eyes of a few and tears of despair in the eyes of many. It was a race jampacked with thrilling battles in the GT ranks as well as some truly dramatic moments in the prototype classes, and we even got a topsy-turvy finish at the sharp end of the field. This may not be one for the history books, but there are plenty of stories emerging from France after last week’s 24-hour race that ended the FIA WEC 2018-2019 Super Season.
The FIA WEC is for the world what the IMSA Weathertech Championship is for North-America, namely the premier sports car racing series. lsoBorn from the ashes of the ill-fated Intercontinental Le Mans Cup that only survived two meager years, the WEC (which stands for World Endurance Championship) wishes to continue the decades-old tradition of the original World Sports Car Championship (turned World Manufacturer’s Championship at one point) that debuted in the mid-’50s but perished in 1992 due to the rising costs of the F1-derived Group C prototypes.
The current World Endurance Championship has also been through some dark days and, in more ways than one, these dark days are bound to continue. Scroll back just three years ago, and you’ll find a healthy and exciting LMP1-Hybrid class with three works programs ducking it all out on the track. Then Audi left. Then Porsche left. And the FIA and the ACO (the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans) found themselves without two the headliners of the show. Board meetings followed board meetings and discussions with interested parties, and it was agreed that privateers could compete in the top class, LMP1, with non-hybrid cars and they’d be roughly on par with the lone works team, Toyota Gazoo Racing.
However, the Japanese giant, who’d tried to win Le Mans since the ’80s, was in a position of power and pushed rule makers to dance to its own music and the end result was the lackluster 2018-2019 Super Season we just saw come to an end last weekend.
Budget Direct Compiles Each 24 Hours of Le Mans Winner Into One Stunning Poster and Video
Widely recognized as one of the most important motorsport events in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a true test of both machine and driver, probing the limits of what’s possible in the world of four-wheeled engineering, while also challenging the best drivers in the world to compete at the highest level of skill and physical endurance. This is the place where legends are created, the place where heroes are forged. Since 1923, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has mystified racing fans with its epic scope and treacherous difficulty, making history every step of the way. As such, Budget Direct is recognizing each of the cars that managed to meet the challenge and persevere with this stunning poster and video compilation.
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Lexus LF-A Art Car celebrates 10 Years of F Performance Cars
Lexus’ F line of performance vehicles is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and to commemorate the occasion, the Japanese automaker is rolling out a one-off LFA Art Car that was designed by Portuguese Pedro Henrique. The LFA Art Car will be in attendance at the 24 Hours of Spa where it will feature in the on-track parade on Saturday, July 28, before the start of the 24-hour race.
Watch Toyota’s Fernando Alonso Slice Through the Le Mans Grid Like a Hot Knife Through Butter
They say a driver’s only as good as the car he’s driving, and if that’s the case, Fernando Alonso and the Toyota TS050 Hybrid race car are a match made in heaven. The two-time Formula One world champion recently took his skills to the Le Mans 24 Hours where he raced for the Toyota team that ended up romping its way to its first-ever Le Mans title.
Alonso played a big role in the championship-winning car, helping it finish first in a spectacular and dominant display of endurance racing with teammates Sebastian Buemi and Kabuki Nakajima. Alonso’s first try at endurance racing didn’t go unnoticed, either. On the contrary, much of the discussion before the race was squarely on his shoulders, specifically on how he could translate his skills from open-wheel F1 racing to endurance racing.
Evidently, the results showed that Alonso was not only up-to-the-challenge, but he actually thrived in his new environment. New video evidence even surfaced of the Spanish racing ace carving up the competition while onboard the TS050 Hybrid. The video lasts only 84 seconds, but in that span of time, Alonso was able to overtake, at least by my count, a total of 21 cars. 21! That’s the equivalent of overtaking the entire Formula One grid!
It’s an incredible sight to see, especially from someone who doesn’t have as much experience in this kind of racing environment as some of the people he was racing with. Sure, the TS050 Hybrid’s dominance played a big role in Alonso making it look so easy, but just as people that a driver’s only as good as the car he’s driving, the car only goes where the driver takes it. Alonso proved that, with a championship-caliber car, he’s still one of the best race car drivers in the world.
All he has to do now is hop inside an IndyCar racer and win the Indianapolis 500. That’s the only race he needs to win to become only the second driver to win motor racing’s equivalent of the “Triple Crown.” Now that he has the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 Hours under his belt, it’s almost a certainty that we’ll see him in Indy at some point in the near future.
2018 24 Hours of Le Mans - Race Report
Toyota’s legendary bad luck at the world’s most famous long-distance endurance race has finally been broken on Sunday when the No. 8 Toyota TS050 of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Fernando Alonso crossed the line to score the Japanese manufacturer’s first overall win. Toyota Gazoo Racing virtually ran away with the victory after dominating in practice, qualifying and the entirety of the 24-hours-long race ahead of a fleet of brand-new non-hybrid prototypes that were pegged back from the word go by the rule book. Alonso brought in significant media attention, and Toyota’s marketing division is jubilant after the Spaniard ticked it all: fastest lap at the Test Day, pole position, and victory – all on attempt number 1.
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Toyota Finally Wins At Le Mans, Fernando Alonso Draws One Step Closer To Triple Crown
After knocking on the door multiple times in the past few years, Toyota finally broke through, winning its first-ever Le Mans title in dominant fashion. The winning #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid beat its sister car, the #7 TS050, on the back of its trio of drivers, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Buemi, and Kabuki Nakajima. The Le Mans win was the first for two-time F1 champ Alonso, who took a big step in becoming only the second racer in history to achieve the “motor racing triple crown.”
Ready for the 24 Hours of Le Mans? Here’s Your Spotters Guide and Competitors List
We’re a few days away from the start of the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, so if you haven’t gotten yourselves up-to-date with this year’s race, we have a spotter’s guide that’s going to save you a lot of time catching up on what to expect ahead of this weekend’s race. The guide is as comprehensive as it gets, and it comes straight from WeatherTech and Andy Blackmore, the man behind all of the best spotter’s guides you’ve seen.
2018 BMW M8 GTE
The official confirmation that BMW is planning to revive the 8 Series and build the first M8 ever is arguably the best BMW-related news we received this year. And while both cars are still a few months from going public, the German firm offered us a sneak preview by launching the M8-based race car first. Unveiled at the2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, it’s called the M8 GTE and will mark the brand’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after seven years. The new race car will make its debut in early 2018, at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
BMW also confirmed that the M8 GTE will race before the 8 Series goes on sale, so don’t expect the flagship coupe to arrive earlier than January 2018. But the good news is that the race car gives a good look at what the upcoming M8 will bring to the table in terms of design and even performance. Of course, the production model won’t be as aggressive as the GTE-spec vehicle, but many of these styling features will make it on the coupe that you’ll be able to find in dealerships. Let’s have a closer at the M8 GTE and BMW’s upcoming campaign in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
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Pops’ Rants: Hybrids Are Dying, Porsche Is Playing Dumb
You know I hate summer right? Well, you might as well hear it again. It’s way too hot and it makes me too lazy to go to the fridge to make more ice. And I’m really cranky when I run out of ice for my whiskey. But, there is one thing I do like about summer: the racing! Oh man, June is simply packed with good quality racing. There’s the 24 Hours of Le Mans, there’sPikes Peak, and there’s plenty of action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Yeah I know, Goodwood isn’t a sanctioned racing event, but you get to see a bunch of cool cars going up the hill. Old cars, the kind that Pops likes. Unfortunately, this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was a bit of a disappointment.
And, before all you Porsche fans start yelling that it was awesome because they won again, I’d like to point out that they were extremely lucky and the racing sucks. And yes, I had my money on Toyota this year. Because I like the Camry (yes, it’s irrelevant blah blah) and I think they deserve the title after so many unlucky stints at Le Mans. But, it wasn’t to be. Their cars crapped out and the 919 Hybrids had fun doing donuts around the LMP2 cars. Because Audi is no longer racing in the prototype class and hybrid race cars suck. Yes, I said it, they suck!
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2018 Green4U Panoz GT-EV
Just like all-electric cars are slowly but surely coming into dealerships in higher numbers, battery-powered vehicles are becoming more involved in the racing scene. Hybrids can be found in quite a few series nowadays and they have made up the top tier in the World Endurance Championships for a few years now. With Formula E having already established an all-electric series, it’s only a matter of time until EVs will be raced in just about any motorsport series out there. Green4U isn’t the first company to set its eyes on the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans race, but it could become the first to join the event with a full EV. Its new prototype is called the Panoz GT-EV and could race at Le Mans as early as 2018.
Founded in September 2016, Green4U, an electric vehicle company, owns George-based automaker Panoz (hence the Panoz GT-EV name), Team Panoz Racing, and DeltaWing. Panoz is already a famous name in the racing scene, having built several prototypes and GT race cars, as well as the founding of the American Le Mans Series, which later merged with the Rolex Sports Car Series to form United SportsCar Racing. The DeltaWing race car, known for its unusual design and rather unsuccessful stint at Le Mans in 2012 was also linked to Don Panoz. Later on, designer Ben Bowlby left to create the strikingly similar Nissan ZEOD RC. Neither the DeltaWing or the Nissan were electric, but the Panoz GT-EV is being designed to work on electricity alone. The car is still a long way off from hitting the race track, but Green4U is already rolling out the details. Find out more below.
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2017 Oreca 07 LMP2
If you’re at all familiar with the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) or the 24 Hours of Le Mans, odds are you’ve heard the name “Oreca” before. Also known as the Organisation Exploitation Competition Automobiles, Oreca is a French race team headed by former F1 team manager Hugues de Chaunac. Founded in 1973, Oreca is best known for developing and producing top-shelf racers for the LMP2 category, providing a winning platform for a number of teams from a variety of different nations. Oreca’s latest effort is dubbed the 07, offered as an upgrade over the outgoing 05 model, coinciding with rule changes for the 2017 season. The new car is now headed to Le Mans, where Oreca hopes to clinch yet another class win thanks to improved aerodynamics, more power, and a tweaked chassis.
Oreca Technology’s Director, David Flourey, describes the 07 LMP2 as the “furthest-developed prototype to date, the one on which we have made the least compromises possible.” At its core, the 07 is essentially an Oreca 5, which isn’t a bad thing when you consider the 05 took top honors in the LMP2 category at Le Mans for the last two events running. The 05 was also the first closed-cockpit racer to bear the Oreca name, and considering this isn’t historic racing, it’s time to evolve the breed. As such, Oreca is promising even higher levels of performance and greater reliability with the 07. So far, things are looking up for 2017. Read on for the details.
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There’s a 24-Hour Forza 6 Marathon During the LeMans!!!
The 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans is on the horizon, and while race car drivers will be put to the ultimate test on the Circuit de la Sarthe, gamers will be participating in their own gasoline-fueled test of endurance in a 24-hour marathon of Forza 6. The marathon comes as part of a partnership between Porsche, Microsoft, and Automobile Club de l’Quest (ACO) and will actually run simultaneously to the real 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The official name of this online test of endurance is formally known as “Forza Racing Championship (Forza RC) Season 3: The Porsche Cup.
As you might have guessed by the official name, those who actually make it through qualifying and become finalists will get to race virtual versions of the Porsche 919 Hybrid. Prizes include real-world money, and there’s even a title in ACO’s newest category: “Official Endurance Esports.” The thing is, however, that if you really want to participate you need to head over to the signup page now as qualifying has already begun. The only requirements are a working Xbox One and a copy of Forza Motorsport 6. Well, that, two working hands, and a girlfriend that’s not going to nag you the whole time. Qualifying comes to an end on May 28th, so you still have some time. When the final race kicks off, it will be streamed via YouTube, Twitch, and Beam for the whole world to see.
"Le Mans: Racing Is Everything" Web Series Is The Show We’ve All Been Waiting For
It’s regarded as the most dangerous race in the world and is likewise considered as one of the three races that make up the Holy Trinity of auto racing. It’s the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and if anybody has ever wondered what it would look and feel like to go on a deep dive into the behind-the-scenes action at Le Mans, Amazon Prime is providing that opportunity with the six-episode documentary Le Mans: Racing is Everything.
Beyond capturing the essence that makes the 24 Hours of Le Mans one of the most famous races in the world, the series also follows six racing teams that compete in the race and the intense preparations each of these teams have to go through in order to win the race, or at least be competitive in it. Mind you, a lot of these race teams – Aston Martin, Audi, Nissan, Porsche, and Toyota – are at the top echelon of endurance racing. Each one of them is featured in the series to go with Rebellion Racing, a small racing team from Switzerland that last competed at Le Mans four years ago. The series starts on June 9, 2017 on Amazon Prime.
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