Partners for 25 years, PEUGEOT Sport and TOTAL have released the main technical characteristics of the powertrain of their Hypercar LMH for the FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP (FIA WEC). Their respective teams have pooled their experience and expertise in the fields of hybridization and world-class motor racing to develop a powertrain (PEUGEOT HYBRID4 500KW) that complies with the new FIA WEC regulations.
PEUGEOT Sport has leveraged its experience of endurance racing (V12 and V8 PEUGEOT 908s) and that of PSA Motorsport in the FIA World Rally Championship (four cylinders) to develop a new 2.6-litre, twin-turbo, 90-degree V6. Positioned behind the driver, this 500 kW / 680 hp power plant will tip the scales at 165kg and drive the rear wheels.
“The architecture of the PEUGEOT HYBRID4 500KW powertrain is the result of a highly-detailed brief shaped by the new FIA WEC regulations,” notes François Coudrain, PEUGEOT Sport’s WEC Program Powertrain Director. “We initially considered a single turbo, but that would have prevented us from achieving our engine’s centre of gravity target. A twin-turbo V6 block offers the best trade-off between technology, weight, packaging of the engine’s ancillaries, reliability and performance.”
The robotised sequential seven-speed (plus reverse) gearbox will be controlled by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and the brake-by-wire system developed by PEUGEOT Sport will also be managed electronically. The driver will be able to adjust the level of engine-braking generated by the electric motor under deceleration and the force applied by the pads to the braking discs to achieve the optimum blending between electric / hydraulic braking. Optimal energy management, both under acceleration and during energy recovery (capped by the regulations at 200 kW), will consequently be key to the car’s performance and efficiency.
The cooling fluids and engine / gearbox lubricants will play an important role in the competitiveness of PEUGEOT Sport’s Hypercar which will use prototypes tailored by Total for intensive use and long life across a wide range of temperatures. Total has also developed special greases and oils that are evolutions of formula derived from its experience in motorsport. Total engineer will attend races as an integral part of the team, to take and analyse samples and to monitor the status of the car’s assemblies over time.
ELECTRIC MOTORSPORT INSIDE
The PEUGEOT Sport-conceived front-mounted 200 kW motor generator unit will drive the front wheels and benefits from the team’s experience of developing electric motors and management systems for production cars. This knowhow has been compounded by:
“The motor generator unit will be equipped with a lightweight, high-efficiency single-speed transmission and a latest-generation inverter to transfer battery power to the motor,” says François Coudrain. “It will have the capacity to use all the energy available in the battery instantly thanks to the powertrain’s energy management system strategies. PSA Motorsport’s experience of the WRC and Formula E will contribute to the development of the software employed to manage the computer and energy systems [braking energy recovery, power under acceleration, anti-lag system, reduced fuel-consumption].”
INNOVATIVE BATTERY CONCEPT DEVELOPED BY TOTAL AND ITS SUBSIDIARY SAFT
The high-density, high-power and high-voltage battery (900 volts) was developed jointly by PEUGEOT Sport and Saft, a Total subsidiary. With over 10 years of experience in F1 and based on PEUGEOT Sport specifications, Saft’s engineers selected the best type of cells for the battery, which favours power density over energy, consistent with the needs of endurance racing. As one of the keys of the car performance, the battery will be completely integrated inside the car and in the powertrain’s energy-management process.
“The main parameter will be to optimise how the energy stored in the battery is used,” explains Kamen Nechev, Saft’s Chief Technology Officer. “To achieve this, you need an extremely short charge-time combined with high-capacity storage cells to form a package that enables maximum power to be delivered as rapidly as possible. The most competitive solution resides in the management of charge optimisation and the amount of power available in real time.”
The new battery will be located in a carbon casing inside the car’s monocoque structure, behind the driver and underneath the fuel tank. It has been designed to combine optimal durability with consistent performance in races of up to 24 hours and even beyond. Total and PEUGEOT Sport are responsible for the homologation of the battery which will be assembled in a new workshop at PEUGEOT Sport’s Versailles-Satory base, near Paris.
PEUGEOT Sport’s collaboration with Total on the FIA WEC programme fits perfectly with the operational guidelines and job-share outlined in the plan for Automotive Cells Company, a joint venture which seeks to become Europe’s number one battery manufacturer for electric vehicles.
POWERTRAIN PEUGEOT HYBRID4 500KW
Although the internal combustion engine delivers 500 kW (680 hp) and the motor generator unit has a capacity of 200 kW, the regulations set a maximum power output of just 500 kW during races. To adapt to the different situations in competition, the LMH powertrain functions as follows:
As required by the regulations, the Hypercar will be equipped with specific sensors to monitor and transmit the power levels measured at all four wheels to the FIA in real time to guarantee the maximum output specified by the Balance of Performance (BoP).
Before the track-testing programme begins at the end of 2021, PEUGEOT Sport and Total will continue their engineering, which is expected to see the powertrain run on the bench and simulator in the course of the first half of 2021.
GROUPE PSA R&D ENGINEERING
While motorsport is as a full-scale laboratory for testing new technologies, the experience of PEUGEOT and Groupe PSA in the field of electrified vehicles has enabled PEUGEOT Sport to benefit from other synergies, including close collaboration between road-car and racing powertrain engineers, on the development of systems and components.
PEUGEOT Sport employs a number of engineers who, like François Coudrain, have had the opportunity to apply their expertise to both mass-production road models and race cars in the course of their career. This unique, valued knowhow feeds into the overall knowledge pool behind the PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED line, the first fruit of which was the PEUGEOT 508 PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED. This version of the PEUGEOT 508 (360 horsepower / 520 Nm / WLTP CO2 emissions: 46g / km) embodies the brand’s new Neo-Performance virtuous performance concept and offers a perfect blend of advanced technology and sporting pedigree. It is the most powerful PEUGEOT road car ever made and its PEUGEOT Sport-engineered systems are a source of inspiration for the FIA WEC programme.
Last but not least, the policy of sharing information between Groupe PSA’s different motorsport departments has paid ample dividends, too, notably in terms of on-board control units and software, especially in the area of powertrain energy management (energy recovery system, power output under acceleration, anti-lag system and reduced fuel consumption).