New tech specs of 2022 Peugeot Le Mans hypercar racer revealed

Peugeot hypercar will pair a V6 engine with an electric motor in the 2022 World Endurance Championship competitor

Peugeot Sport has revealed further information about the powertrain it will use in its challenger for the upcoming Le Mans Hypercar class from the 2022 World Endurance Championship season. 

The petrol/electric hybrid drivetrain is dubbed Peugeot HYBRID4 500KW. As the name suggests, 500Kw - that’s 671bhp - is on offer, from a 2.6-litre twin turbocharged 90-degree V6 petrol engine. The mid-mounted unit weighs 165kg - for reference, the 1.6-litre V6 power units in Formula 1 have a minimum weight of 150kg, though this also includes the energy recovery systems. The Peugeot’s V6 sends drive to the rear wheels through a seven-speed sequential transmission.

The petrol engine is backed up by an electric motor driving the front axle. This produces 268bhp and is powered by energy stored in a 900-volt battery sitting right in the centre of the car, between driver and V6, and beneath the fuel tank.

Before the race, this battery can be charged via a plug. While it’s on track, energy is recovered through regenerative braking, made possible by a brake-by-wire system which will allow the drivers to adjust the bias between electric engine braking and a traditional hydraulic setup of discs and pads on the fly.

While the combined output of those units is 938bhp, the new rules in the World Endurance Championship Hypercar class state that only a maximum of 671bhp is ever used. In most situations, the petrol unit will therefore run at 402bhp, with the rest of the power supplied by the electric motor. 

Electric motor usage is forbidden under 75mph - this is to prevent a four-wheel drive traction advantage over cars built to the competing LMDh regulations, whose hybrid powertrains are rear-wheel drive only - so the petrol engine can operate at a higher output at lower speeds. The V6 can also deliver the full 671bhp once the hybrid battery is depleted.

The tech specs follow on from a series of sketches which reveal the wild aerodynamic package that the three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning outfit could run. However, it also shows that Peugeot road car cues, like the claw-like three slash lighting units front and rear, will also feature.

The new hypercar regulations mean the cars will grow relative to the LMP1 rules currently in place in the top tier of WEC categories. The five-metre overall length is 35cm longer than LMP1 regulations allow, while the width is up 10cm to two metres.

Speaking of the announcement, Peugeot CEO Jean Philippe Imparato said: “Le Mans is the holy grail of the automobile world. We are coming back to endurance racing because we have the opportunity to work the sport in a different way, with the hybridization of gas and electricity.”

Peugeot Sport will begin full testing towards the end of 2021, with powertrain bench testing and simulator work underway earlier in the year.

Check out when Toyota's TS050 Hybrid broke the Le Mans record...

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