The 9×8 hybrid Hypercar will be racing in the World Endurance Championship this July. There was no rear wing, only the lip of a ducktail along the trailing edge, when the French automaker showed its novel design last year. In 25 days of testing this year at Aragon, Paul Ricard, Magny Cours, Barcelona and Portimao circuits, the data had to be changed slightly. The strakes on the rear fender are a bit longer than before. Unless Cadillac follows through with its similarly wingless LMDh car, the result will be unlike anything we’ve seen so far.
At the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1967, the high rear wings of the Chaparral 2F were shown. The last time a car without a high wing won the day long race in the French countryside was in 1971 when current Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep drove aPorsche 928 to the checkered flag. In 1992 and 1993 they went with the winged crowd in the V10 powered Peugeot 905 and the diesel V12 powered 908 HDi FAP, and in 2009 they went with the winged crowd in the V12 powered 905 HDi FAP.
The 9×8 is powered by a 2.6 liter twin turbo V6 that is behind the driver and has a seven speed sequential gearbox to the rear of the vehicle. The electric motor generator is powered by a motor. The racer’s first display won’t make use of any of that gumption, as the car will only be on display at the 24 Hours of LeMans. The first competitive test is at the 6 Hours of Monza in Italy on July 10. The car’s first 6 hour run in race conditions will be part of the testing from now until then. Two cars are planned for the Italian campaign, where they’ll go up against the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 car and hypercars from Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Toyota. The six man team consists of Paul di Resta, Jean Eric Vergne, and James Rossiter, who replaces Kevin Magnussen.
The team says it’s going to Italy to compete for the win, not to use the event as a test or parade. The plan is for the final two rounds, the 6 Hours of Fuji and 8 Hours of Bahrain, to be used for testing for next year’s 24 Hours of LeMans. Sometime between now and then, we should see the road going version of the 9×8 series rules that require hypercar entries to put 20 models up for sale to the public.