THE PEUGEOT 9X8, SEEN BY THE DESIGN TEAM: "ICONIC, EFFICIENT, EMOTIONAL"
The PEUGEOT Design team has made a huge impact with the design of the new Hypercar Hybrid 9X8, which incorporates all the brand's aesthetic codes: a feline stance, fluid lines enhanced by signs of sportiness, sleek, structured flanks and, of course, the characteristic three-clawed light signatures of the Lion. Slim and sleek, the PEUGEOT 9X8 arouses emotion and embodies speed.
Interview with Matthias HOSSANN, PEUGEOT Design Director.
A racing car is often defined by its performance in competition. With the PEUGEOT 9X8 Hypercar Hybrid, you have managed to combine style and technology. How did you go about it?
Indeed, the quest for ultimate performance very often leads to a purely functional aesthetic that is not very much influenced by the brands' stylistic codes. The new regulations allow more room for creativity, and we wanted to seize this opportunity to imagine, with the PEUGEOT SPORT teams, a car with a unique design, a PEUGEOT hypercar that carries all the brand's values.
What motivates this return to competition for a brand like PEUGEOT?
For PEUGEOT, motor sport, like the concept car in its more traditional form, is an incredible laboratory of ideas and innovations which enhances the experience we offer our customers through our production vehicles, particularly with the 508 PSE of course, but also with the rest of the range.
9X8 is a PEUGEOT designed for competition, its technology is entirely from PEUGEOT SPORT and the design is from the same team that creates the concepts and production vehicles that our customers drive every day.
9X8 is a concentrate of the know-how of the brand's teams and extends the already rich history of success of PEUGEOT in competition, dear to the brand and its fans.
The 9X8 seems to be a complete departure from previous generations of race cars. Can you explain?
Thanks to the new regulations, we were able to work on a different aesthetic. We started the project with three words in mind "iconic, efficient, emotional" because I wanted a car that was both immediately recognisable and that marked a change, a fundamental shift of generation, echoing the change in motorisation. It broke the codes and brought the worlds together, offering the ultimate expression of our brand.
Why did you choose to remove the spoiler on the 9X8?
This perfectly reflects the boldness and creativity of PEUGEOT's engineers and designers! The aerodynamic operation proposed by our engineers, which allows us to do away with the traditional spoiler, has given us greater freedom of stylistic expression. Since we had more freedom, it was the ideal time to do whatever we wanted!
Just imagine! No car has raced at Le Mans in endurance since 1967 without a spoiler.
This is the first time that Peugeot has presented a hybrid race car. A revolution?
The PEUGEOT 9X8 marks the entry into a new era, notably through the technology it implements. As Olivier Jansonnie, Technical Director of the project, points out, "The Endurance is based on a regulation that allows us to demonstrate PEUGEOT's expertise in electrified powertrains. Like the 508 PSE, which is accessible to the public, the brand is opening a new chapter in hybrid sportiness, with performance becoming more virtuous by switching to electric power, but without sacrificing anything in terms of competition.
What role did 3D play in the design and development of this model?
The daily life of designers is a succession of back and forth between drawings and 3D tools, which allow us to include phases of visualisation in virtual reality. Virtual reality is an essential tool today, an additional tool for creativity that makes us more efficient.
This project was developed during the pandemic, with part of the project being carried out during the confinement period and therefore with teams working from home. Digital technology is a common language and a tool for dialogue between PEUGEOT SPORT's design and technical teams, which enabled us to respect the project schedule in a particularly constrained and unprecedented context. The teams' ability to adapt was exceptional.
Unique light signatures. Was it important for the 9X8 to be recognisable at night too?
In the legend and magic of the 24 hours of Le Mans, there is the atmosphere and the images at night. The design team has many loyal followers of this circuit who therefore know the importance of the light signature for the fans. Some cars can be recognised by the sound of their engines, but often you just see points of light fading into the night.
So, the 9X8 had to be immediately recognisable. The three claws motif, which is present on our iconic historical models and on all our current production cars, was an obvious choice.