Building on the momentum generated by its one-two finish at Le Mans in 2009, Peugeot is on the hunt for a second straight win in the prestigious race. Twelve months of preparation has kept the team under pressure in its bid to secure repeat success in this unique event, which attracts more than 250,000 spectators annually. When Peugeot had the privilege of tasting Le Mans success in 2009, it had a very positive effect on both its customers and across the whole company. The victorious Peugeot 908 HDi FAP car and its three drivers - Alexander Wurz, Marc Gene and David Brabham - embarked almost immediately on a "lap of honor" tour which lasted from June until September before the car finally made its way back to the team's Velizy workshops. Since then, Team Peugeot Total has had its sights set firmly on 2010, the year of Peugeot's 200th anniversary celebrations.
Preparations have taken the form of three races and 11 test sessions, including extended simulation runs, set-up work and the development of a complete range of tires in association with Michelin.
"Our work initially focused on adapting the 908 HDi FAP to the new 2010 regulations, which essentially involved the engine and bodywork, explained Peugeot Sport's Technical Director, Bruno Famin. "The only aerodynamic change is the result of adjusting to this year's new engine power levels. We have endeavored to recover some of the power lost because of the rule changes, which involved working with Bosch on improving engine combustion, reducing power losses through friction with Total, and improving the flow efficiency of the intake and exhaust systems with Dow.
"This is the 908 HDi FAP's fourth and final year of competition. It is an outstanding car and I think we can look forward to a thrilling Le Mans 24 Hour; I believe it will be very close from flag to flag."
Team Peugeot Total had its first taste of victory this year with a one-two finish in the 1,000km de Spa-Francorchamps in May. This race also provided a taste of what spectators can expect at Le Mans; namely a long, unrelenting sprint during which the slightest error or misjudgement either on the track, in the pits or in terms of strategy, could prove very costly.
The Spa race was an important part of the team's preparations as it provided them with real-world race practice, in order to give everyone a chance to rehearse their respective roles under the sort of pressure that only competitive action can provide. Last October's Petit Le Mans one-two finish, another in Sebring and the recent 1,000km de Spa have all contributed to making Team Peugeot Total an even stronger team.
"Our win at Le Mans in 2009 did a great deal for the team's confidence," remarked Peugeot Sport's Director Olivier Quesnel. "This time last year, we had the impression that our backs were to the wall. Today, we are still under pressure, but we have used that pressure to make positive progress. Le Mans is the greatest race in the world and we all felt a big sense of pride when we succeeded in beating Audi, which has been the benchmark in endurance racing for many years.
"We have done everything in our power to prepare as thoroughly as possible to repeat that win, but everyone is aware that this is a long race during which anything can happen. I am expecting an extremely intense race because I am sure our main rival has evolved, as we saw at Spa."
Team Peugeot Total's 2010 Le Mans driver line-up consists of nine fast and experienced drivers who are ready to take the team to the top step of the podium again. No1 908 HDi FAP (Blue Mirrors)?Anthony DAVIDSON (GBR), Marc GENE (ESP), Alexander WURZ (AUT)? Gene and Wurz were both in last year's winning car. Marc has one win to his name, while Alexander has won twice from three attempts at Le Mans. This international trio also won last March's visit to Sebring.
No2 908 HDi FAP (White Mirrors)?Nicolas MINASSIAN (FRA), Franck MONTAGNY (FRA), Stephane SARRAZIN (FRA)? These three French drivers were team-mates at Oreca in 2002, so they know each other well. They also have considerable experience of Le Mans, with no fewer than 27 starts between them. Stephane Sarrazin has also claimed the last three pole positions.
No3 908 HDi FAP (Red Mirrors)?Sebastien BOURDAIS (FRA), Pedro LAMY (POR), Simon PAGENAUD (FRA) These three drivers won May's thrilling, high-speed 1,000km de Spa-Francorchamps together.
* There will be four Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs in this year's Le Mans (three factory cars, plus a car run by Oreca)
* The 908 HDi FAP has contested 21 races and won 15 since its first race in 2007
* Since their Le Mans debut in 2007, the different 908 HDi FAPS have totalled 191 hours of racing at La Sarthe from a possible 192 hours
* Team Peugeot Total's nine drivers have a total of 54 Le Mans starts between them
Team Peugeot Total's 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours schedule
* Sunday, June 6 - Administrative checks and scrutineering
* Wednesday, June 9 - free practice and first qualifying session
* Thursday, June 10 - second and third qualifying sessions
* Friday, June 11 -?18:00 Driver's Parade (Le Mans town centre)
* Saturday, June 12?9:00 - 9:45: Warm-up,?15:00: Start of the 78th Le Mans 24 Hours
* Sunday, June 13?- 15:00 Finish of the 78th Le Mans 24 Hours