Making the impossible possible again; hypothetically
Despite its origins (as a coffee mill manufacturer) and the quite bland actual lineup of cars, Peugeot also showed the world that it could do racing.
The prestigious World Endurance Championship (WEC) — which includes the Le Mans 24h race — has been dominated by the Volkswagen Group since the start of this millennium, with the most prominent figure being the Audi brand. Between 2000 and 2014, Audi fetched 12 Le Mans 24h trophies, with its winning streak only to be interrupted in 2003 by Bentley (with the Speed 8), and in 2009 by the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP.
The 908 HDi was the second LMP1 car (after Audi’s R10 TDI) to be propelled by a diesel engine and, had the odds not been against it, the first hybrid to race in the Le Mans 24h. Despite its achievements — winning 19 out of 28 races between 2007 and 2010 — and the promising chassis, the French manufacturer stumbled painfully in developing the hybrid version of the 908 HDi. If you wonder why, well, the answer would be shitty sales figures.
[Photo:40820] 908 HY. Pronounced dead due to corporate failure
Not only did Peugeot dodge the bankruptcy several years ago, but the PSA group grew to be Europe’s second car manufacturer — by adding Opel/Vauxhall to their portfolio. The French are also on a roll now, expanding their lineup with appealing crossovers and SUVs (the modern people’s car-shaped kryptonite), so things are good now.
Actually, things are good enough for Peugeot to consider a return to the WEC. As the brand’s CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato told Autocar during an interview at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, “We have always said we will return if three conditions are met: firstly, we as a company are making money; secondly, we have won the Dakar Rally and thirdly, the cost of competition cannot be over €200m per year.” The first two conditions are met, he added.
[Photo:40821] Two very, very, very distant relatives
Which gets us to this article’s main subject, the 905_e. Designed by the talented folks Monholo Oumar and Yung Presciutti, this concept returns to 1993 for inspiration, more specifically to the 905 Evo 1B Le Mans winner.
We’ll let Yung explain what is this four wheeler you’re going to drool upon: “The vehicle is divided into three parts. There is a capsule surrounded by the front and rear fender. The main frame is built around the driver. It means it’s a unique model for each participant. The fenders are attached to the main frame. These are split to express the hybrid character of the vehicle.”
[Photo:40822] Peugeot VGT: 875 hp, 875 kilos, highly inefficient aero
Peugeot, take a look at this. Now, look at your 2015 Vision Gran Turismo concept above. Now back at this. We hope you now know where to look when you’ve decided to return to Le Mans.