Track test for tri-power

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels - STEPHEN OTTLEY

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.

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