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908 HDi FAP Concept
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  Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Concept

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Country of origin:France
Produced in:2006
Introduced at:2006 Paris Motor Show
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:September 28, 2006
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Click here to download printer friendly versionLe Mans is located in the heart of France, but the city's annual 24 Hours marathon has traditionally been the playing field of the British, Italians and Germans. In the last fifty years only Matra, Rondeau Peugeot managed to score a win for France and the last dates back to 1993. In the Friday before the 2006 24 Hours race, Peugeot revealed the first details of their plan to bring the coveted trophy home to France. Most of those details described the engine to be used; a diesel V12. Two days later Audi scored the first ever diesel win at Le Mans with a similar powerplant, so Peugeot were reassured they chose the right configuration, but also knew they had their work cut out for them. Three months later the wraps were taken off a full scale mock-up of the 908 racer, and four days after the European endurance racing finished for the season, we were already looking forward to 2007.

The heart of the new car is the engine, which is a custom developed 100 degree V12 engine, running on diesel. It uses the latest common rail induction technology, already used by many road going products of PSA Peugeot Citroen. The 100 degree V-angle is somewhat unusual, but does offer a lower center gravity, which could be very useful considering diesel engines' relatively high weight. Like the Audi engine, the Peugeot V12 is built to the maximum allowed displacement of 5.5 litre. Breathing through two restrictors and boosted by two Garrett Turbos the engine is predicted to produce 700 bhp and in excess of 1200 Nm torque. Once rushed through the Turbos, the exhaust fumes go through particulate filters to extensively lower emissions and silence the engine. PSA have been at the forefront of the particulate filter technology some years now and today the filters are standard equipment on almost all their road going diesels.

When the Le Mans organizers and rule makers, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) drew up the current LMP1 and LMP2 prototype regulations, they had the great foresight to allow both open and closed racers. In the previous set of regulations there was an option for closed cars, but it was not really a viable option and only Bentley ever fielded such a fixed head car. In the ACO's current set of regulations the closed cars' extra complexity are compensated with larger restrictors and there are plans to restrict the top class to closed cars only from 2010. At Paris we found out that the Peugeot 908 HDi will be the very first closed LMP1 to materialize, but there are already others on drawing boards all over Europe. Several of the current open cars, supposedly including the Audi R10, are designed to be easily converted to closed top configuration. Judging from the Paris mock-up, the great days of closed top prototype racing will be relived once more in the very near future.

According to a Peugeot Sport representative the styling model in Paris was about 90% of the final design, but probably only the aerodynamic details need further work. It is safe to say, the white and red racer will be a welcome addition to the prototype grid. The engine will run before the end of September and Peugeot plan to have test-driver Eric Helary out in the car early in December. France's new hope should make its debut in March 2007 in the Sebring 12 Hours, if all goes to plan.

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  Article Image gallery (17) Specifications