Peugeot has confirmed the final make-up of its driver pairings for the upcoming Le Mans 24 Hours as it seeks to wrestle the title away from diesel rivals Audi.
The French squad will again run three cars at La Sarthe and had previously confirmed the nine drivers that would form its line-up, but has now confirmed exactly who will run in each car for the endurance classic.
The #7 908 HDi will be crewed by Nicolas Minassian, Pedro Lamy and Christian Klien, while the #8 car is set to be a fans favourite thanks to its all-French driver line-up of Stephane Sarrazin, Sebastien Bourdais and Franck Montagny.
The third car, the #9, will see Peugeot new-comers David Brabham and Alexander Wurz line-up alongside Marc Gene.
Having lost out to Audi for the past two years, the team has turned its focus solely to Le Mans this season and has worked hard on the 908 given the changing regulations laid down by the ACO in order to reduce the gap between the petrol and diesel machines – with extensive testing having taken place ahead of the event.
"To begin with, the ACO's measures mean a drop in engine power because our car must run with a smaller air restrictor, the diameter of which has come down from 39.9mm to 38.3mm,” technical director Bruno Famin explained. “Meanwhile, the requirement for closed cars to have air conditioning to prevent the cockpit temperature from exceeding 32°C has called for the incorporation of a power take-off at the end of the gearbox to drive the compressor. We have also worked with our partner Bosch to optimise injection and combustion.
"We have paid special attention to aerodynamics, too. The regulations dictate a smaller rear wing, the width of which has come down from 2 to 1.6 metres. We have consequently had to revise the overall package in order to rebalance the car by reducing front downforce. This explains the new front-end bodywork we will be running for the first time at Le Mans."
"Then, in April, the ACO forced us to carry 30kg of ballast, and that has had a significant impact on the resistance of certain mechanical parts, notably suspension and brake components. Lastly, the fuel filler pipe is now narrower, and that will add almost three seconds to fuel stops."