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Peugeot Will Go to LeMans 2007 with a Diesel

The 5.5-liter V-12 HDi with DPFS.

Peugeot will enter the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours race with a new car—to be called the Peugeot 908—powered by a 5.5-liter V-12 HDi diesel engine equipped with a diesel particulate filter system.

In March, Audi made racing history as its diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, becoming the first diesel car in the world to win a major sports car race. The R10 TDI is competing in Le Mans, which runs from 17-18 June. (Earlier post.)

The Peugeot engine is based on a 100° twelve-cylinder V design, with a 5.5-liter cylinder capacity—the maximum allowed by regulations. Peugeot went with a 12-cylinder design to keep the bore diameter very close to that of a production series engine to make best use of its diesel combustion knowledge and to limit the stroke to a reasonable value. The V-12 architecture also reduces vibration to a minimum.

Peugeot expects the engine to deliver more than 515 kW (690 hp) of power and more than 1,200 Nm of torque. Bosch is one of Peugeot Sport’s key partners on this project, making an active contribution to the specification of the fuel injection components and to the engine management system.

In comparison, the Audi R10 TDI is powered by an all-aluminum, 5.5-liter, twelve-cylinder bi-turbo TDI engine that delivers more than 485 kW (650 hp) of power and more than 1,100 Nm of torque.

Peugeot will introduce a scale model of the car at the upcoming Paris Auto Show (Mondial de l`Auto) in September, begin test driving in December, and compete in test races in 2007 (including Sebring), leading to the Le Mans run in June 2007.

Earlier this year, France-based Welter Racing announced that it would field a biodiesel car in Le Mans 2008.


John W.

Dum dum dum! The plot thickens!

This competition is excellent for development.

These engines are so powerful you could get away with putting one of them in a tractor trailer.


Does anyone have data about mileage of these cars compared with similar gas ones.


Sid Hoffman

To address both of the above comments, you'll never find a 5.5 liter engine in a tractor trailer because it would have to spin at too high an RPM to be fuel efficient. True, most semi's have 400-600 horsepower, but they do so with 8-14 liter engines so they can spin at extremely low RPM for engine longevity and fuel efficiency.

As for fuel consumption versus other LeMans cars, the diesel is reported to burn only about 70% as much fuel per lap, but diesel weighs about 15% more per gallon, so there's a weight penalty to be paid if you carry as many gallons. Still, being able to do one more lap between fuel stops at LeMans is a big deal and you can easily win a race by having to do fewer fuel stops, even if your laptime is slightly slower due to the weight penalty.

Bill Walsh

Sid is right on the nose. I read someplace that Audi expects to eliminate several pit stops during LeMans this year due to better efficency, thus saving a ton of time.

It is good to see diesel engines appearing in high provile racing. Hopefully the negative image most Americans have of the diesel engine can be changed. Although it would have to make it into a "NASCAR" afiliated program (Nextel/Craftsman/GrandAM)to get visibility to the people that need to have the image change.

Bill Walsh

High profile, if it was vile NOBODY would like it!!!

Rafael Seidl

With Peugeot switching to diesel as well, there is a good chance the rules won't be tweaked to put diesels at a disadvantage (cp. turbos whihc were disallowed in F1). If Audi wins, the LeMans circuit could become a diesel-only affair.


Fuel efficiency isn't the only way to win at Le Mans. Mazda, when they were involved, were very successful with the fuel wasting rotary engine and won the 24 hour race.

Petr T.

I do not think so there is Bosch equipment. V12 5,5 l should be assembled from 2x V6 2,7 HDI already used in Peugeot 607 and Citroën C6. 2x 2,7 = 5,5, 2v V6 = V12. Equipment = Siemens VDO piezo common rail.

Sid Hoffman

Audi has won almost every LeMans race of this new century with their R8, so I have every expectation the R10 will at least be a contender, if not win.

As for diesel and NASCAR, the easiest way in would be in the truck series, I suppose. All of the big-3 have a diesel truck - Dodge has Cummins, Ford has the Powerstroke, and GM has the Duramax. As long as you run restrictor plates and pop-off valves to keep the teams from running illegal amounts of turbo boost, I agree that diesel and NASCAR would go along great together, especially if they used 100% US-grown soy biodiesel. What can be more American than diesel powered trucks burning American grown diesel fuel?

bill walsh

Red White and Blue.

How about real stock motors with whatever boost you want. Lets see how much Dura is in that Max and how much Power can it can Stroke. Now that would be good. Throw in a "no smoke" requirement and we would have clean diesels in this country in no time!!! Does Soy have any smoke?

Audi has been so dominant in endurance racing, almost immediately, Peugeot has a tough road ahead. I can't wait to see next years Sebring race, should be great.


With the lack of emissions restrictions on vehicles in a racing venue I would not want to be present for an all diesel racing event. Besides, NASCAR rules require you would have to throw away all the turbocharged, common rail, direct injection advanced diesel engines for this racing series.

bill walsh

There needs to be SOMETHING stock in "stock" car racing, lets start with a diesel engine!!!

It might generate some interest in the minority that has a low view of NASCAR.


While I would like to see diesel technology advanced a low tech venue like Nascar is not the place to do it.

With the technology restrictions in place a diesel IS NOT competitive. They actually have specific requirements for the engines that everyone must follow but if you had a carb'd diesel of the exact same displacement as a gasoline NASCAR engine w/o turbos it would not stand a chance in those high speed races. Tractor towing & stump pulling would be a good place for a basic diesel engine not NASCAR.

Advanced diesel engines may compete well with advanced gasoline engines in races like Le Mans but NASCAR's rules are completely different.

Let's see some AWD diesel rally cars. That would be more interesting than diesel NASCAR.

John W.

Hey Sid, I didn't mean for my comment to be taken quite so literally; I just meant to say these are honking powerful engines here!

But actually, I used to drive truck for years and there are still many engines on trucks with only 400 ponies or much less: the important thing is the torque. These engines would indeed rev much higher and not last as long (probably), but then again a small Honda engine revs much higher than a larger domestic 5 liter (I know, not all things are equal necessarily in that comparison), but it still gets the better mileage (and lasts much longer): I can see the same here with these precisely because they are only 5.5 liters instead of 14. It depends on quality of build. Anyways, just some thinking outloud: my point was these are very powerful car engines!

Patrick, I never new nascar demands only carburetors! That seems like a very stoneage rule to me. I can't imagine why they would want a rule like that. Is it because the cars used in nascar are behind the times too?


Diesel engine is by definition fuel injected and can not run on carburetor. NASCAR carb-only rule applies to SI engines only, and for race application tuned carb offer performance at least comparable to fuel injection. And by the way, NASCAR vehicles run on alcohol fuel, not gasoline.


NASCAR cars do not use alcohol. They use leaded petrol. They will switch to unleaded in 2008.


It was many yrs ago that nascar mandated carburetors, other engine designs fell victim to being too good as well, the hemi, and overhead cam engines.

Things the big 3 were doing 40+ yrs ago, overhead cam(s), fuel injection ... where would we be had we continued down that path?

Bill Walsh

The only reason NASCAR would be good for a diesel engine is the exposure. For a massive number of Americans, NASCAR is the ONLY automotive racing they see.

Now if you could get the NASCAR folks to move away from their business formula, maybe the truck series could have a diesel engine allowed. Diesel trucks are big sellers, the Craftsman truck series with diesels almost reflects reality, contrary to the Nextel Cup.

Allowing diesel engines and as I mentioned above, a "no-smoke" rule for exhaust, the Craftsman Truck races could be a proving ground AND advertising medium the domestic automakers need.

Europe has Audi/Peugeot diesel battles in sharp handling endurance racers, America has round and round diesel trucks. Racing "clean" diesels in the states could change the perception of the diesel engine, making it possible for us to buy the good stuff europe has now.

I would love to replace my 17 year old Peugeot with one that has their latest 2.2 HDI diesel 4 banger. I would even buy a Ford if the same motor was installed, as Ford and Peugeot are co-developing their diesels of late.

So if it takes NASCAR to change the perception of a diesel, than YEE HAW.

bill Walsh

There has been a few diesel rally cars. I think there was a Golf TDI in the US rally championship. Plus I think there was a few in local europe rallys as well. Not quite big time yet!!!!

Mark A

Nascar mandates carburetors, because they are easier to enforce. In other words, fuel injection is too complicated for their tech inspectors to understand, and police. The old AMA "stock car" series used spec sealed throttle body intakes that were passed out to competitors. I always thought that was a super idea.

Yes if there were any visionaries at nascar they would specify diesels to be run in trucks. That heavy of a chunk of iron in the front of a race truck would require inovative setups and such to run. But if nascar would switch to diesels for their race trucks, would that mean they could not race in California, and other states, which needs to meet the cleaner diesel requirements?


Race vehicles do NOT have to meet emissions standards required of the average commuter's car. Thus the terminology "for off road use only".

They do have some standards from state to state (outside of the racing regulatory rules) but I believe these rules are mostly concerned with noise pollution rather than air pollution.

Bill Walsh

Production automotive emission requirements do not apply to automotive racing events, unless it is a requirement of the race series.

Because NASCAR is currently using LEADED fuel, they do not meet any emission requirement form the past 20+ years. Although, they are well running engines, so they can probably meet the earliest standards without added systems.

A clean diesel would be a massive improvement for public safety!!!!!


Thank you for correction. Methanol and methanol/ethanol blends are used for Indy Formula One, not NESCAR. Thought switch for alcohol fuels to NASCAR is widely debated too.


Monster Trucks and some drag racers run on methanol/nitromethane.

Mike Fuller

In addition, the Peugeot 908's V12 is using production sourced particulate filters essentially eliminating visual emmisions. The Audi R10's engine is said to be using the same (production based particulate filters). The R10 won Le Mans two weekends ago and in the process set a lap record, completing 380 laps (8.46 mile circuit, for 3215 miles for an average speed of 134 mph). During the race the R10 went 16 laps before refueling which in itself must also be a record. Typical stops were 15 laps peaking with the 16 lap run. For comparison, its gasoline engined competitprs were doing 12 laps between fuel stops. I have some figures that have been sent to me that show the R10 was able to achieve approaching 6 miles/per gallon (all while averaging 134 and topping out at 205 mph at various sections of the circuit for each lap)

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