The 2007 season turned out to be one of the most rewarding ever for Peugeot Sport who launched four different new cars on the world motor sport scene, from the factory program with the 908 HDi FAP to its package of promotional formulae with the 207 LW THP, 207 Super 2000 and Spider THP. The lessons learned by the team while finding its mark last year will be implemented in 2008 and all its energy will be devoted to building on that experience to achieve its objectives.
This time last year, under the leadership of Michel Barge, Peugeot Sport organized a dynamic presentation of the new 908 HDi FAP to announce its modest objectives for the season ahead. Following the car's initial gestation, which was rapid to say the least, Team Peugeot Total enjoyed a memorable season which brought its fair share of surprises, satisfactions and passion, not to mention the unrelenting toil which enabled it to secure results well beyond its expectations and targets.
Indeed, never in Peugeot's history had a competition car won `out of the box', yet the 908 HDi FAP claimed victory in its debut race at Monza before going on to clinch the 2007 Le Mans Series (LMS). Team Peugeot Total won all six rounds, started from pole position each time and posted every fastest race lap, not to mention its unhoped-for performance at Le Mans where it started from pole position before taking second place at the end of the enduring 24-hour race.
Since the curtain came down on Team Peugeot Total's 2007 campaign at Interlagos, where it sewed up the Le Mans Series, the team hasn't eased up in the slightest. With the full backing of the brand and the President of the Group, the programme has effectively been stepped up in a bid to make further progress and achieve its goals, not the least of which is winning at Le Mans.
The 2008 908 HDi FAP programme The objective for 2008 was clearly spelled out when the programme was initially announced in June 2006, namely victory at Le Mans. Since then, all the team's energy and effort has been focused on that supreme challenge. Every one of its outings, whether a test session, a simulation run or a race, has sought not only to validate new parts and evolutions to take the 908 HDi FAP forward in terms of both performance and reliability, but also give the 10 drivers who make up the 2008 squad a chance to familiarise themselves with the car.
The priority: Le Mans The 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours - which saw Team Peugeot Total qualify on pole-position and claim second place after having both its cars running up to two hours from the flag - permitted the team to gather a considerable amount of data and information concerning both the technical and human aspects of its operation, as well as the overall management of its entry in the celebrated French race. Since last June, extremely busy Le Mans Series and test programs have enabled Peugeot Sport to continue to work on the car and its reliability with a view to being able to tackle races at the same pace seen in practice.
This ambitious program will see Team Peugeot Total contest March's 12 Hours of Sebring after visiting the American venue for the three-day winter test on January 28-30. Pedro Lamy, Nicolas Minassian and Stphane Sarrazin were all in attendance and the latter profited from the trip to establish a new lap record for the track. The exacting 12-hour race itself is seen as a chance to take the development of the 908 HDi FAP further still.
Peugeot is looking to defend its title. As was the case in 2007, two 908 HDi FAPs will defend the chances of Peugeot and its partners in five European races, namely Barcelona, Monza, Spa, the Nrburgring and Silverstone. Given the excellent season enjoyed by the two crews and Peugeot Sport last year, the team has chosen to build on the same synergies in 2008. 908 HDi FAP N7: Marc GENE / Nicolas MINASSIAN 908 HDi FAP N8: Pedro LAMY / Stphane SARRAZIN
As far as the looks of the car are concerned, although the carbon theme has been carried over, the livery of the 908 HDi FAP has evolved. Style Peugeot has produced a design which symbolizes the flow of air and fuel, with lines extending from the headlights and past the air intakes to the engine cover which features 'HDi FAP' branding. The N7 908 HDi FAP will be predominantly red, the N8 car predominantly blue and the N9 car predominantly grey.