Track test for tri-power
THE Le Mans 24 Hour remains the battleground for the next generation of road-car technology. Peugeot has unveiled its latest challenger for the famous sportscar race, a hybrid version of its 908 turbodiesel prototype.
The 908HY made its debut at the Le Mans Series finale at Silverstone. Based on this year’s 908 HDi, the HY adds a hybrid powerplant that features a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) — technology that will be introduced to Formula One next year.
The hybrid system has three main parts: a 60kW electric motor-generator, 10 battery packs containing 600 lithium-ion cells, and an electronic power converter. The system adds 45kg to the test car, but Peugeot aims to cut that to 15kg before the first race.
That means the 908 can run on three power modes. In pitlane it can use the electric motor and on the track it can use the V10 engine, or a combination of both.
The KERS uses heat from the brakes to charge the electric motor, which can then be used to give the car extra power.
Peugeot engineers have calculated that over the course of a lap at Le Mans the system will be able gather extra energy for 20-30 seconds.
‘‘This hybrid 908 HDi FAP is in perfect keeping with the overall mission of our endurance racing program . . . we can use motor sport as an R&D tool for Peugeot,’’ Peugeot Sport director Michael Barge says.
‘‘Running a hybrid car in endurance racing would give us valuable experience that would benefit the development of production cars.’’
Peugeot is waiting on new Le Mans rules before committing the 908HY to racing next year. Race organisers are happy to encourage new technology but have not yet ruled on hybrid cars.
British engineering firm Zytek is partnering US team Corsa Motorsport to race a petrolengined hybrid in the American Le Mans Series next year.
Kinetic energy: Peugeot’s 908HY has three power modes.