Peugeot announced this morning that it would be taking one of the new Peugeot 908 HDi cars to Paul Ricard for the official Le Mans test on March 25,26. It’s interesting to note that 1 car and six of seven drivers will be coming along for the session. The entire team, save one driver are making the trip.
That one driver would be none other than superstar Jacques Villenueve. Is this a legit absence, or is JV already not playing well with others? One thing is certain though, he could use a shave and a haircut! Images from a previous test session at Le Castellet show his new look that could be called French Canadian Farmer Chic.
More photos and Peugeot press release after the break
JV lookin scruffy next to the clean cut Bourdais
FIRST OFFICIAL AIRING FOR TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL lundi 19 mars 2007.
With a little less than a month to go before the 2007 Le Mans Series kicks off at Monza, Team Peugeot Total will travel with six of its seven drivers and a single 908 HDi FAP to Paul Ricard in the south of France for the official Le Mans Series test days on March 25-26.
Since its first shakedown run over military ground in VÃƒÂ©lizy Villacoublay, near Paris, on December 31, 2006, and its official unveiling on January 10 at Mortefontaine, also near Paris, the 908 HDi FAP has taken part in five test sessions at Le Castellet and Valencia, Spain. The second car was completed at the end of February, with the third chassis set to follow a few weeks later. The timetable continues to be extremely tight therefore, which explains the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s absence from testing at Sebring and the presence of just one 908 HDi FAP at Paul Ricard for the Le Mans Series tests. “The schedule of the cars is particularly busy, as is the programme that has been put together in the space of just one year,” explains Peugeot Sport Director Michel Barge. “What with the test programme, rebuilds, modifications and preparation work, we have a great deal to do in a short period of time. This in turn makes calls on our logistics and human resources that occasionally need to be adjusted to enable us to pursue the current development phase in good conditions.”
For Team Peugeot Total, the official test days at Paul Ricard will continue to focus on the reliability work that started two months ago. The 908 HDi FAP will not participate in the 24-hour test and will stop running at midnight before taking to the track again on Monday morning. “We have covered a little more than 4,500km since the car first ran,” says Bruno Famin, Technical Director. “We havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come across any serious troubles that have forced us back to the drawing board. As with any new car, however, we have had to sort out a certain number of small problems. This takes time and we have consequently placed the accent on reliability work and building up our understanding of the car.” The single Peugeot 908 HDi FAP present at Paul Ricard will feature a new colour scheme which could evolve further as a function of technical parameters and the arrival of new partners.
THE 908 HDi FAP DRIVERS
With the exception of Jacques Villeneuve, Peugeot SportÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s entire 2007 line-up will be at Paul Ricard, namely SÃƒÂ©bastien Bourdais, Marc GÃƒÂ©nÃƒÂ©, Eric HÃƒÂ©lary, Pedro Lamy, Nicolas Minassian and StÃƒÂ©phane Sarrazin.
Bourdais and Lamy will take turns at the wheel over the two days to familiarise themselves with the new car to ensure that all the drivers will have clocked up the same distance before forming the following crews :
Car NÃ‚Â°7 (race engineer : Christian Deltombe) Marc GÃƒÂ©nÃƒÂ©/Nicolas Minassian/Jacques Villeneuve
Car NÃ‚Â°8 (race engineer : Christophe Besse) Pedro Lamy/StÃƒÂ©phane Sarrazin/SÃƒÂ©bastien Bourdais
“The objective of this first official outing will not be to seek performance or take on our rivals,” points out Serge Saulnier, Team Manager. “Our aim is to continue to bed ourselves in and find our marks.”
THE SPIDER 207
The official LMS tests also provide Peugeot Sport with an opportunity to present the Spider Cup, a single-make formula based on the calendar of the 2007 Le Mans Series which begins at Monza (April 14-15). The Spider 207 barquette is powered by the 175bhp 1.6-litre THP engine mated to a six-speed paddle-shift gearbox. The first cars have already been delivered and some excellent racing is in store over the seven rounds of this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s championship – LMS rounds, plus Pau (a WTCC meeting) and Magny-Cours (Super SÃƒÂ©rie FFSA) – as competitors battle for the top prize which is a test day with the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP and a 207CC.
Leading names already registered for the series include Simon Molton (GB), Oliver Freymuth (D) and a long list of French drivers (Dino Lunardi, GrÃƒÂ©gory Guilvert, Maxime Dubrulle, Thomas Acary, Julien BrichÃƒÂ©, Julien Schell, etc.).