Peugeot says it will press on with its Le Mans and other motorsport programmes despite the global recession
It has appointed Olivier Quesnel to lead its motorsport arm, Peugeot Sport, which came close to winning the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours with the 908 HDi FAP sports racer.
Counterbalancing that disappointment the sports racing car won four of the five races in last year's Le Mans Series.
Peugeot says its engineers are working to iron out the shortcomings that handicapped the cars at Le Mans.
They’re working to optimise the traction control system, prevent the radiators from getting choked up and improve the way the wheels are fitted to make them quicker and easier to change during a race.
New series and Le Mans rules mean major changes to the car.
"The engine settings have been completely revised to take onboard the new air restrictor dimensions and the lower turbo pressure which has resulted in a fall in power of approximately 10 percent," says Peugeot Sport's technical director, Bruno Famin.
"Significant work has gone into the 908's aerodynamics, too, in order to re-optimise the car's balance following the notable reduction in the width of rear wings which has been cut from two to 1.60 metres.
“We are also continuing with develAopment work aimed at putting air-conditioning in the cockpit with a view to ensuring that the temperature inside the car stays within the regulatory threshold.
"At the same time, we are working on enhancing the car's performance potential. This includes ongoing work on weight reduction in a bid to get close to the minimum limit, even with air conditioning."
As curtain-raisers to Le Mans, the team will contest the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida with two cars and six drivers, and the 1000km of Spa- Francorchamps in Belgium in May (8-10) with three cars and nine drivers.
The cars will run in predominantly blue livery, with the roof covered in a reflective chrome-like aluminium aimed at minimising cockpit temperature.