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The Peugeot 9X8, the result of a partnership between Peugeot Sport and Capgemini, is set to make its mark on the next edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2023. In July 2022, the hypercar took to the track at the 6 Hours of Monza for its first appearance in the FIA (Fédération Internationale Automobile) WEC endurance championship.
To meet the challenge of Le Mans 2023, in a precision discipline where every detail of driving, strategy, and setting determines who wins and loses, the newly introduced 9X8 will have to perform at the highest level. Working to achieve this, Peugeot Sport knew from the outset that it would not be able to alter the structure of the hypercar, whose main characteristics (engine, transmission, aerodynamics) are homologated by the FIA. As the hardware is fixed for several years, major optimizations could only be made to the software.
Placing digital, data, and AI at the heart of the 9X8 was therefore an obvious choice from the design phase. Our expertise, the power of our R&D, the ability to collaborate with industry experts, and our historical links with the Stellantis group opened the door to this partnership. But it was really the meeting of personalities, driven by a common vision and goal, that made it possible to build this partnership with Peugeot Sport.
Injecting data and AI into motorsports is not a revolution in itself. But with the Peugeot 9X8 hypercar, its level of integration goes a step further. Here, the software makes the most of the power of the hybrid 4X4 and accelerates the engineers’ decision-making in the simulator, on the test bench, and on the track.
Energy management, a major component of any hybrid vehicle design, is optimized by an onboard artificial intelligence. In particular, the AI controls the distribution of power between the combustion engine on the rear axle and the electric motor on the front axle. As a result, the AI stabilizes the car, avoids skidding and, ultimately, reduces tire wear and stress on the chassis. It also optimizes the energy consumption of the two motors throughout an endurance race and, ultimately, limits the number of pit stops, which is decisive for victory. The software/hardware pairing thus represents a formidable lever for improving the hypercar’s endurance.
Data intelligence provides Peugeot Sport’s engineers with new resources. Thanks to the collection of internal data from the car, which can then be cross-checked with external information (weather, circuit constraints, driver’s assessment, etc.), these experts have access to a higher level of knowledge for greater speed and efficiency in their pre-race adjustments. Capgemini has created virtual sensors that, thanks to AI, are capable of generating new data from that which was physically captured.
This virtualization opens up new perspectives, particularly for strategic decision-making during races. Soon, it will be possible to ask a driver to downshift at a given moment to avoid overheating a part or to predict the ideal moment to overtake. By optimizing the data set, it becomes possible to control uncertainty and refine decision-making. Collaboration between data engineers and mechanics is therefore set to intensify, even in the paddock.
As a long-standing partner of Stellantis, Capgemini has committed itself to a championship in endurance racing with Peugeot Sport, which has become a veritable laboratory for the automobile of tomorrow.
Tested in real conditions and subjected to the most extreme stresses, the Peugeot 9X8 opens the way to more sustainable mobility. Race after race, it will provide insights that will make it possible to improve the performance and reliability of hybrid engines by controlling the consumption of electricity and biofuel. These lessons learned will enable the transfer of technology to improve production vehicles in the years to come, making them safer, more energy-efficient, and less polluting.
For us, this partnership represents a valuable opportunity to shape the future of mobility through sustainable and innovative solutions, all with controlled development budgets. In every respect, the Peugeot 9X8 is a winner.
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