Peugeot will look to fine-tune its preparations for the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend at Spa, as the French team makes its first outing in the Le Mans Series this season.
The team will run a brace of 908 HDis in the Belgian event, with David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud both making their debuts for the team.
Pagenaud, who will act as a reserve driver for the La Sarthe classic and is due to race the Pescarolo Sport-entered 908 HDi, will line-up alongside Christian Klien and Nicolas Minassian in the #7 car, while Brabham will make his return to LMP1 competition in the sister #9 car with Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz.
Both cars will run in the latest diesel specification as laid down by the ACO, with Peugeot Sport director Olivier Quesnel admitting that the final result of the Spa race wasn't the key thing from the weekend.
"Spa stands out above all as our last chance for a dress rehearsal in race conditions prior to Le Mans," he said. "It will give the mechanics an opportunity to carry out pit-stops following the introduction of new regulations. It will also enable us to work on our race strategy, while the drivers will be able to familiarise themselves with racing in traffic and with the 908.
“The latter notably concerns Simon Pagenaud who recently joined us as reserve driver and who will be driving the Pescarolo Sport-run Peugeot 908 HDi FAP at Le Mans. Spa will also give us a chance to validate our latest technical specification. As a consequence, the end result is not our priority. If we need to call a car in to change or check something, as we did at Sebring, then we won't hesitate."
The changes to the diesel-powered cars, which includes 30kg of extra ballast, has been brought about to try and decrease the difference in performance – with another key factor being a fuel-filler restrictor which is set to hamper the diesel cars during pit-stops.
“If I was Aston Martin Racing I would be smiling even more!” Brabham said when quizzed on how the revisions would impact on the racing. “Seriously, though, when you think that we lose around three seconds in the pits, and at Le Mans you pit a hell of a lot, just count that up and it's easy to work out that with today's high level of competition you can lose the race in the pits. So it's going to be a factor.”