Peugeot reveals hybrid WEC Hypercar powertrain

Published: 14 December 2020

► Peugeot returns to Le Mans under hypercar regs
► Won the race in 2009
► Looks like a modern 905

Peugeot has revealed details of the hybrid powertrain that’ll sit in its forthcoming WEC car. Called the Peugeot Hybrid4 500KW, it’ll consist a formula we’re getting more used to: a V6 turbo along with a beefy electric motor.  

In this case, Peugeot has opted for a twin-turbo 2.6-litre V6 that’ll drive the rear wheels with 500KW or 671bhp. It’ll be mid-mounted, weigh 165kg and will be mated to a sequential seven-speed ‘box. The front axle is powered by 200KW or 268bhp motor, that Peugeot is adamant has been developed with road car expertise.

WEC rules currently cap this progressive element of the car at 200KW, but this’ll likely be down to cost-saving.

So far, so simple

The car is capped to 500KW at almost all times; that means when the 200KW front-mounted electric motor is engaged, the ICE can produce no more than 300KW. Further rules mean the electric motor can only be engaged above 74.6mph - except in the pits where speed is restricted to just 37.2mph. In that case, EV power, petrol power or a combination of the two is apparently fine. 

Finally, hypercar rules do allow the system to ICE to run at 515KW, but only at the end of straights when the battery is depleted. In this sense, it can be seen as an 'alternator mode.'

Like F1’s hybrid system, this motor will be able to capture energy via a sophisticated brake-by-wire system, but unlike the one used by Mercedes-AMG et al this year, it’ll give the car four-wheel drive capability when deployed.  

A high-performance 900V battery is at the heart of these energy transactions; encased in a carbon cell within the monocoque it’s designed cope with huge power transfers for a 24-hour period. It’ll be assembled by Peugeot Sport in a new facility outside Paris, but homologated by Total.

What will it look like

Peugeot’s entry will be based around the new-for-2022 hypercar category and will therefore rub shoulders with entries from Toyota and Glickenhaus. Aston Martin has pulled out for the moment, citing its recent financial troubles. 

The hypercar class: what you need to know

What form that performance will take remains to be seen: Peugeot has released a couple of shadowy pictures of its new racer, but it does look promising. We do know the car will be heavier than what we’re used to from the LMP1 class, but it should look good; there’s definitely a hint of 905 Evo in the forthcoming car’s extruding rear spoiler.  

‘Le Mans is the holy grail of the automobile world’, says Jean Philippe Imparato, Peugeot CEO. ’This category unites our entire company and all of our entities, with features and technologies similar to those of our production cars.'

‘To this date, we have confirmed part of the aerodynamic concept, the engine framework has been decided and we have chosen the functionality of the hybrid system and its fundamental design,’ said Olivier Jansonnie, technical director of the brand’s WEC program. ‘We still have several steps left before our debut in endurance in 2022, in studies, the production of prototypes and finally, affirmation on the bench and on the track.’

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast