Having already confirmed which drivers that would form its team for the 2008 sportscar season, Peugeot has now announced the exact make-up of its assault on this summers Le Mans 24 Hours.

The team, which debuted the 908 HDi FAP at La Sarthe last season and took a second place finish, will expand to run three cars this time around, with its line-up full of experience of both the Le Mans 24 Hours itself and of Formula 1.

Regular pairing Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian will be joined in the #7 car by former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve, while Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin will be partnered by another F1 racer in the shape of Alexander Wurz.

The third car, to run under the banner of Peugeot Sport Total as opposed to Team Peugeot Total, will be shared by three further drivers with extensive F1 experience in Christian Klien, Franck Montagny and Ricardo Zonta while Frenchman Anthony Beltoise will act as the reserve driver should any of the other nine be unable to compete.

"Team Peugeot Total has enlisted the services of 10 outstanding drivers whose experience at the wheel of cars that are very similar to the 908 HDi FAP in terms of set-up and driving technique needs no introduction," Peugeot Sport director Michel Barge said. "Between them, they total 393 Formula 1 Grand Prix starts and 34 previous participations in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

"When deciding who would compete in which car, our overriding consideration was to form crews that are evenly matched and on whom we will be able to count equally during any strategically key phases of practice and the race. With such a high quality trio in each one of our three 908s at Le Mans, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that we have a first class dream team. But that's not the be-all and end-all; the toughest part of our job is still to come!"

In order to full prepare for the race, which Peugeot has always insisted is its main focus for this season, Villeneuve will also join up with Gene and Minassian for the Le Mans Series event at Spa next month. One of the other drivers will then join Lamy and Sarrazin in the sister car.

"We have sought to ensure that all our 2008 drivers have the same number of kilometres under their belts and that they are equally race-fit," team manager Serge Saulnier said. "As a result, we have three crews that have an equal chance of winning Le Mans. Deciding who would share the #7 car was a very straightforward decision, since Nicolas, Marc and Jacques all wanted to be together again.

"We also wanted to split the three French drivers and the two Austrians so that we didn't have two drivers of the same nationality in any one car. At the same time, it soon became apparent that Alexander's build and driving style were similar to those of Pedro and Stephane. And, as for Franck, Ricardo and Christian, they clearly get on together and know each other well from their Formula 1 days!"

 

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