In June 2005 Peugeot announced their intention to win the Le Mans 24 Hours, with a car powered by a diesel engine. The Peugeot HDi diesel DPFS engine was designed as a 5.5 Litre 100° V12 engine, the DPFS hinting at the twin diesel particulate filters at the end of each exhaust system that guarantee smoke free operation of the engine under all conditions. Peugeot’s closed cockpit LM P1 prototype evolved over a course of two years into the 908 HDi FAP that made its debut at the 2007 Le Mans Series Season’s race at Monza, and also clinched the first position.
Riot Engine had the privilege of stepping beyond the security barriers to get close to 908 HDi FAP, we bring you some exclusive pictures of the interior of the 908 HDi FAP.
The “908” comes from, ’90’ designating an exceptional Peugeot model and 8 the next number in sequence after the 907 concept car. The transmission is controlled electro pneumatically using the paddles on the steering wheel. The cockpit is designed as a two-seater, as mandated by Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) regulations, though the passenger seat is not used. The space is used to hold the fire extinguisher (sparco makes fire extinguishers too?) and electronic equipment.
Forged Magnesium BBS Wheels look stunning. Michelin Tyres provide the road holding abilities.
While the Audi R8 ( the Le Mans Racing car, not the production one) as well as the Audi R10 TDI were open top cars, Peugeot went ahead with a closed cockpit design based on regulations announced by the ACO on 16 June 2006. Of course, this had a number of technical disadvantages including additional weight and increased height of the COG. The Peugeot Sport team felt that it also offers advantages, particularly in terms of chassis rigidity and aerodynamics.
Apart from wanting to maintain a link with the two-times winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1992 and 1993, the Peugeot 905, Peugeot had a compelling reason for going the closed cockpit way.
Closed Cockpits were mandated to have air conditioning to keep the temperature at a 32° Centigrade. Regulations permitted the use of a larger diameter inlet for the turbocharger on such closed cockpits to compensate for the presence of air conditioning equipment. Shown below is the larger diameter turbocharger inlet. This gave the 908 HDi FAP additional power, that was put to good use.
Peugeot says the car’s profile results not only from the necessary compromise between aerodynamic efficiency and drag, but also the need to provide optimum airflow to the different radiators and intercoolers located within the bodywork.
The monocoque body is made of carbon and offers strong natural rigidity (the “eggshell” effect) and allows the weight of the monocoque body to be optimised. The gearbox is positioned longitudinally and allows provision for up to 6 gear ratios, the limit laid down by the regulations. It was designed to withstand the torque of the engine, while ensuring optimum weight and size characteristics. As we mentioned previously, the gearbox is controlled electro-pneumatically using the paddles behind the steering wheel.
The 100° V12 HDi FAP engine with particulate filters
We haven’t seen a more sinister looking engine. Looks straight out of the Alien vs Predator franchise. Fantastic!
Peugeot wanted to keep the bore diameter very close to that of a production series engine to make best use of diesel combustion knowledge gained by their engineers over the years and also to limit the stroke length. These requirements were best achieved with the use of a 12 cylinder engine. The V12 is also known for keeping vibrations to a minimum.
The 100° V angle, of the V12 architecture, allowed the height of the centre of gravity to be lowered without affecting the torsional rigidity of the engine. Two diesel particulate filters are mounted at the end of each of the exhaust systems. Derived from technology in Peugeot’s road cars, these will provide a guaranteed control of exhaust emissions under all operating conditions. The two diesel particulate filters fitted to the engine being presented, have the serial numbers 1.195.520 and 1.195.521 as on any other particulate filter from the Peugeot factory.
The two exhaust systems are as short as possible. On each side a 6 into 1 exhaust manifold is connected to a Garrett turbocharger, then to a very compact diesel particulate filter before ending in a side exhaust pipe, located in front of the rear wheel. The V12 makes around 515 kW (700 bhp) and a torque in excess of 1200 Nm, which Peugeot proudly claims is a result of their diesel engine expertise, and the choice of a V12.