Peugeot is making its big WEC debut this week at the 6 Hours of Monza. After six months of testing, the 9X8 will face competition from Toyota, Glickenhaus and Alpine for the first time. An event, the first after the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will also make it possible to witness the first adjustment of BoP, pillar of the new Hypercar category which aims to give each manufacturer a chance.
As we saw in Sarthe this month, the subject of the BoP is by nature thorny and has provoked sometimes tense discussions. It is true that the presence this year of an ex-LMP1 prototype fielded by Alpine complicates the task of the legislator. Ultimately, having only LMHs and LMDhs should theoretically simplify building this performance balancing system. Nevertheless, it will probably always be the subject of debate and criticism, a phenomenon that manufacturers want to minimize as much as possible. It is in any case in this state of mind that Peugeot returns to Endurance, with the desire not to pollute the events by public exchanges on this subject.
“We can’t commit to a category with the BoP if we don’t have a minimum of confidence that it’s happening in a fair and equitable way for everyone”recalls Olivier Jansonnie, technical director of Peugeot, in an interview granted to Motorsport.com. “There will be a lot of discussions between us, between manufacturers, with the organizers, on the BoP and its optimization. It is important, for manufacturers, to maintain confidence in what is happening at the level of the BoP, to succeed in maintaining transparency in these discussions. But what is also important is that once these discussions which take place behind the scenes before the events are over, they must remain at that stage and do not pass into the sphere of the race. What is going to be very important for us is that the race is the race. That means minimizing these discussions when we are on the event. We will try to s ‘hold on to it.’
“Afterwards, we will inevitably have disagreements, we have already had some and we will still have some, but we will still try to make sure we talk to each other so that the show we deliver to the global remains sport. It must remain sport. We have this confidence to say that it is absolutely necessary that it goes well and that we are also an actor; we are not just a spectator of this BoP, we are an actor in the sense that we is developing with the regulatory authorities. The overall interest of the manufacturers who are present is that things go well. If we start to have public tussles between the various manufacturers, that does not give an image of our sport which is that that we want to give or for which we are committed today.”
No Wealth Without Concession
Olivier Jansonnie recalls that there is “permanently” discussions on the theme of the BoP between manufacturers and organizers. The Frenchman admits it’s about “something central, which rightly worries everyone a little”but also insists on the fact that this compromise is absolutely unavoidable today.
Olivier Jansonnie (centre) is the technical director of Peugeot Sport’s WEC programme.
“We have cars that are very diverse and that will compete”he says. “Our point of view is that this diversity is the richness and the interest of this sport. We cannot want to take diversity and not assume the fact that we will have to find a way to run these cars. together, so to make them more or less identical, or that it is fair in terms of performance whatever the tracks or the conditions. It is a starting postulate, which one accepts on principle, otherwise one would not be the.”
For the engineers of the French brand, building a development program for the 9X8 with such a new regulatory framework has also paved the way for new approaches. The philosophy is different but the challenge remains rewarding according to Olivier Jansonnie.
“Development is done with knowledge of the BoP”he explains. “It’s just done differently, that is to say that yes, it’s not the same, yes, we are not looking for pure performance because we know that we are capped. On the other hand, intellectually it’s different but it’s no less rich. We discovered for two years, on a regulation that we did not know, a different richness, and we all learned things. We have in the team people who have done cars and competed in different categories for years, and the really nice thing about these regulations is that it has allowed us to think about things differently. We get a lot of talk about our car because it there was a big design integration, which is not very common.”