This diesel-electric sexiness is the Peugeot 908 HYbrid4, and it appears ready for Le Mans.
The car, unveiled at the Geneva auto show, is the hybrid version of the diesel 908 HDi racer we’lll see at Le Mans. Peugeot says it was “designed to comply with endurance racing’s latest regulations” and it “will play a part in the 2011 offensive,” though the automaker doesn’t say how.
The French automaker has been experimenting with competition-caliber endurance-racing hybrids since unveiling a demonstration car at Silverstone in 2008. Diesel racers from Peugeot and Audi have dominated Le Mans, and a diesel-electric is the logical next step.
It’s an impressive bit of kit. The 3.7-liter diesel V8 puts down 550 horsepower. A 60 kilowatt (80 horsepower) electric motor is powered by energy recovered during braking and stored in a lithium-ion battery. The motor provides an automatic boost under acceleration because Le Mans rules bar “push to pass” systems. The car can run on electricity alone in the pit lane.
The electric assist when exiting corners and leaving the pits could cut lap times. And adding hybrid technology to the already impressive fuel economy of the diesels could mean fewer pit stops and more time on the track.
Peugeot is keeping mum on any further details, but we could see the car at the Le Mans test on April 24. According to Autoweek, Peugeot considers this an “ambitious target” for the car, which is stated to being testing later this month.
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