While Peugeot hopes to close this LMP1 season with a victory at Silverstone, it will use the race to unveil the 908 HY, a hybrid version of its 908 HDi race car.
Like the 908 HDi, the 908 HY still uses the same 5.5-liter, 700-hp, turbo-diesel V-12 for power, but couples it to a series-parallel hybrid system. Kinetic energy lost during braking and cornering can then be recouped, stored as electricity, and used to power a 60-kilowatt electric motor. That motor can either boost the diesel motor (similar to Formula One’s KERS), or power the 908 HY on its own, albeit at low-speeds in pit areas.
Peugeot says it could use the electric boost to deliver an extra 80 hp for 20 seconds each lap, or – perhaps more important during a 24-hour endurance race – use the motors to improve the car’s fuel efficiency by as much as five percent.
Whether Peugeot will actually field the system, along with the 908 HY itself, remains to be seen. If rules set by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the sanctioning body for the 24 Hours of LeMans, don’t outlaw hybrid powertrain, there’s a good chance we’ll see the 908 HY take to Le Circuit de la Sarthe in 2009.