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The only Japanese manufacturer to ever win the prestigious 24-Hours of Le Mans so far has been Mazda with its 787B. Toyota has been wanting to change that for nearly two decades now. Their last effort in the LMP1 class failed, but next year they’ll be back with a vengeance, using a hybrid racer.
Not that the French will make it any easier on the Japanese, as Peugeot has just put some testing miles on their new race car, the 908 HYbrid4. First shown at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March, this new race car just completed its first test at the Estoril circuit in Portugal on October 11th. The car went through 300 km of testing in the hands of Nicolas Minassian, Stephane Sarrazin and former Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz.
Peugeot Sports technical director Bruno Famin said, “Our aim wasn’t to put a lot of kilometres on the clock, but to verify that all the chief functions performed.” He added, “It was important to analyse the data of each run to be sure we understood the results before moving on to the next step. The system functioned well and responded as predicted, which was very satisfying. At the same time, we started to make a few adjustments to the car’s basic set-up. It worked well, so that’s very positive.”
Peugeot has been working on the 908 HYbrid since 2008 and the car is only now coming close to becoming a reality. However, Peugeot is not the only European car company trying to compete with a hybrid racer, as Porsche is also aiming to enter with not only their 911 GT3 R Hybrid, but also the 918 Hybrid race car.