SEVEN DRIVERS - ONE TEAM

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PEUGEOT’s endurance-racing comeback plans continue to take form.

After releasing illustrations of its upcoming Hypercar prototype and revealing the characteristics of its LMH powertrain, PEUGEOT Sport is pleased to announce the names of the seven drivers who will defend its colours in the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) and at the Le Mans 24 Hours.



All seven have experience of either Formula 1 and/or world-class endurance racing. Some are even former team-mates, while others have close ties in their everyday lives or train together.

Endurance racing is notorious as an uncompromising form of motorsport where the human element and unwavering team spirit are vital not only to win but also to reach the finish of races.

In the course of 2021, the six nominated drivers and the reserve/simulator driver will contribute actively to the new Hypercar’s development and work with Peugeot Sport staff as the programme takes form.

“The quality of the relationship between everybody involved in the project is fundamental,” affirms Jean-Marc Finot, Director, Stellantis Motorsport. “Over and above their individual racing skills, the main criteria we took into account when assessing and talking with drivers were the ties they have with each other, their mind-set and their ability to work together to motivate and help take the team forward, because the human factor plays such a big part in endurance racing. We also wanted to establish that they saw their commitment with us as a priority and not just a line on their CV.”

The driver assessment process also took into account their respective records in FIA WEC, ELMS and IMSA rounds. “We looked at all the endurance racing championships that have been organised over the past five years,” observes Olivier Jansonnie (WEC Technical Director, Peugeot Sport). “We didn’t just take individual results into consideration. We also examined the speed, consistency and reliability of a long list of drivers because we are looking for a line-up that meshes together well, with an eclectic mix of upcoming youngsters and experienced campaigners with proven development skills, especially in the field of hybrid power trains.”

In addition to their respective commitments for 2021, the seven PEUGEOT factory drivers will contribute to the project’s advancement on a daily basis with the goal being the organisation of a first test before the end of the year.

 

The seven selected drivers:

— Loïc DUVAL_France (38 years old)
−FIA WEC World Champion and Le Mans winner / Former Formula Nippon  and Formula Campus Champion
 
— Kevin MAGNUSSEN_Denmark (28)
−119  Formula 1 starts / Former Formula Ford Denmark  and Formula Renault 3.5 Champion
 
Jean-Eric VERGNE_France (30)
−58  Formula 1 starts / Two-time Formula E Champion / Former British  Formula 3 and Formula Campus Champion
 
— Paul di RESTA_Scotland (34)
−59 Formula 1 starts / Le Mans winner (LMP2) / Former Formula 3 Euro Series and DTM Champion
 
— Mikkel JENSEN_Denmark (26)
−Former ADAC Formel Masters and ELMS (LMP3) Champion
 
Gustavo MENEZES_USA (26)
−FIA WEC World Champion (LMP2) and Le Mans winner (LMP2)
 
— James ROSSITER_England (37)
−Reserve and simulator driver
−Experience of single-seater racing (Super Formula, etc.) and endurance racing (Super GT, LMP1 ,  LMP2, etc.) / Formula 1 test and reserve driver
 
 

Up close with the seven Peugeot Total drivers…

 

Loïc DUVAL

What motivated you to join Peugeot in their comeback to endurance?

In 2008 when I join Le Mans for the first time, I became a massive fan of this race and endurance racing. I've been lucky to drive a Peugeot in Le Mans in 2010 and 2011. When I saw the news that Peugeot was coming back, I knew this was something I wanted to do be part of.

 

In your career, have you ever shared an anecdote with your future teammates?

The one I've gotten to know the best is Jean-Eric. I remember when he was still at F1 and living in Switzerland he would come to my house, we spent a lot of time together. We did some training together during the winter in Chamonix. When he races in Formula E, my kids scream his name when they see him on TV.

 

What does endurance and the 24 Hours of Le Mans represent for you?

It represents everything to me. I have always been a big fan of team sports. In single seater racing you never have this feeling of sharing with your teammate. Endurance racing ticks all the boxes of what I wanted in motorsport: the atmosphere, the emotion, the team spirit. Le Mans is a huge race, it's an iconic and a difficult one.

 

If I say 24 Hours of Le Mans, you say?

The grail! In motorsport, there are few races that everyone knows: Monaco F1, the Indy 500, but Le Mans is the best of the best. Maybe this is because I'm French. But the challenge for the people and for the cars to be able to reach those high speeds with such consistency – this is amazing! And driving day and night is something extraordinary, too.

 

What motorsport moment in Peugeot history has been most engraved into your mind?

I remember being in Le Mans with the 908 in 2010. Two hours before the end of the race, we suffered a technical failure while on our way to a podium position. It really broke my heart and was difficult to swallow. On the other hand, that is where everything started for me.Together, we have unfinished business at Le Mans and it is the time to win the race together!

 

What competitive Peugeot car do you dream of driving?

905 is such a nice car and I would love to drive it to Le Mans. I am a big fan of historic racing.

 

What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is Blanquette de veau but only cooked by my mother!

 

What is the best meal before a race?

A tomato mozzarella plate, with a little bit of pasta and salmon followed by a fruit salad. Not a big portion though..

 

What is your best quality?

I always question myself. Constructive criticism, when I do something, I analyse how I can do it better.

 

Jean-Eric VERGNE

What motivated you to join Peugeot in their comeback to endurance?

The history of Peugeot and their victories at Le Mans, and on the competitive side the ambition of Peugeot. The team will support each other and I am sure it will be a very good car, which is the most important when you compete to win Le Mans. Together with Peugeot I believe it will happen. Also the fact that I’m French, I think for the history it will be cool to have Peugeot, a French car manufacturer coming to Le Mans, and me as a French driver. I think it will be quite magical feeling.

 

In your career, have you ever shared an anecdote with your future teammates?

Here were few of them that I already know pretty well. Obviously Loic, a long-time friend. Mikkel, was my teammate last year in endurance, so we shared some great moments. I also know Kevin from F1, we met quite a while ago. Paul Di Resta I also know from F1. During the race at Monza in 2014, I did not let him by and he came to see me after the race. He was not very happy with me. The first time I met Gustavo we went shopping together in Tokyo! We also share a similar group of friends.

 

What does endurance and the 24 Hours of Le Mans represent for you?

The 24 hours of Le Mans is something that I always knew I wanted to do. The first time I drove in a single seater was at Le Mans in the Formula Campus. I remember being in the huge grand stand and feeling so small. It was quite a bit later on when I went to see my first race there, I was in the Filière academy. I remember being blown away and saying, “I want to win that race one day”. Also it represents the incredible moments that you share with your team. Normally in single seater championships, you’re fighting against your teammates and the other drivers. In endurance, it brings the drivers closer together throughout the season or during your carrier… who knows where we’re going to be in 10 years! But we shared a huge adventure and that experience bonds people together forever.

 

If I say 24 Hours of Le Mans, you say?

I want to win this one many times.

 

What motorsport moment in Peugeot history has been most engraved into your mind?

When Peugeot won Le Mans.

 

What competitive Peugeot car do you dream of driving?

I look forward to driving our hypercar!

 

What is your favorite meal?

Fondue Savoyarde, even if I eat it once a year!

 

What is the best meal before a race?

Pasta!

 

What is your best quality?

I never give up. I am tough as nails.

 

Paul DI RESTA

What motivated you to join Peugeot in their comeback to endurance?

Definitely, the history Peugeot has from when they last participated in endurance, at Le Mans and their professionalism. Being involved and joining the team at such an early stage really excites me. I caught the endurance bug the past three years when I started in LMP2.

 

In your career, have you ever shared an anecdote with your future teammates? If so, which ones and with who?

I haven't shared a lot of time with my teammates. I have raced a few of them over time, mainly JEV in F1. We were obviously enemies at that time! The closest relationship I had was with Mikkel. We met when he was part of a German junior team and he came on to do a fitness camp with my DTM team.

 

What does endurance and the 24 Hours of Le Mans represent for you?

Teamwork! It is absolutely pushing people to the maximum. I think when you see the race you obviously see the 24 hours, but what you don’t appreciate is the week’s work that has gone into it. Everybody works up to this challenge for months, even years. I think the drivers have the easier side of it!

 

If I say 24 Hours of Le Mans, you say?

“The best race in the world!” having won it last year in LMP2, and fully experiencing the emotions of it. I cannot wait to see the crowds and sharing the experience with everyone as much as I did last year.

 

What motorsport moment in Peugeot history has been most engraved into your mind?

Watching the last campaign of Peugeot at Le Mans. It was when I was starting my single seater career. I’m also very good friends with Alex Wurz who was part of that team. He has told me what a great team it was, and the cars were iconic.

 

What competitive Peugeot car do you dream of driving?

Definitely the 908. When I saw it on its demonstration lap in Le Mans last year, I thought I would be happy to get my hands on it for a lap.

 

What is your favorite meal?

Pizza. It must be the bit of Italian inside me.

 

What is the best meal before a race?

Chicken and pasta, light pomodoro sauce, some parmesan cheese and a little bit of spicy pepper. Nutrition is key over the course of Le Mans.

 

What is your best quality?

My best quality is being able to trust me. I’ve always been taught by my dad: “Your word, your bond. If you shake hands with somebody no matter whether it’s right or wrong, you stand by it.” It’s a trait in life that I’ve followed through.

 

Mikkel JENSEN

What motivated you to join Peugeot in their comeback to endurance?

The Hypercar plan is very interesting and exciting. There are several manufacturers involved. Peugeot has great history and have already won Le Mans. I am very exciting to be part of this program and I can’t wait to get started.

 

In your career, have you ever shared an anecdote with your future teammates? If so, which ones and with who?

With Jean-Eric, when we were teammates there was no pressure and it was always a good time. He is always marking jokes. It was a great experience for my first Le Mans tournament. I met Paul at a fitness camp. He was in DTM and myself in F3 as a junior. The military trainer told us to do push-ups, sit-ups. We had to do 2000 reps in total. It took us 2 hours! Paul and I pushed each other to keep our motivation up. It was probably one of the toughest things I have tried in my life. So I know that Paul is a motivating teammate!

 

What does endurance and the 24 Hours of Le Mans represent for you?

I think it's the top of motorsport. The 24 Hours of Le Mans race is THE event. It is something that everyone wants to be able to put in their prize list. It’s no secret that in Denmark, Tom Kristensen has made the race extremely popular. It is the only race, including Formula One that is diffused on a free channel besides the news!

 

If I say 24 Hours of Le Mans, you say?

I say Teamwork, passion and dedication because these are elements that are required to win.

 

What motorsport moment in Peugeot history has been most engraved into your mind?

I'm only 26. But the 908 victory in Le Mans is the one I remember.

 

What competitive Peugeot car do you dream of driving?

The 905 is a great car, I really love classics, so it would be a dream to drive it. 205 Turbo 16 is also super cool. I loved the rally cars when I was young, I thought it was very cool and I love their sound. This car is amazing with its light weight and small wheelbase. I think that it would be so much fun to drive. It was my car of choice when I was younger for racing in eSports.

 

What is your favorite meal?

I like everything: Italian, pizza, pasta, sushi, good steak. If I have to pick one that I really like it would be the Danish Christmas menu. In Denmark, we have one meal that everyone in the country eats. We have duck with potatoes or caramel potatoes which is good, too and with gravy. It’s not the healthiest that’s why we only eat it once a year!

 

What is the best meal before a race?

I like all kinds of salads, adding some pasta, chicken, fish or something light. I don’t like to eat heavy or too much bread or steak before driving.

 

What is your best quality?

I think its learning new things quickly. I started karting when I was fifteen which was pretty late. But only 2 years later, at the age of 17, I was already in F4. Today we race with much less practice, it’s important to be able to find a good pace without having a lot of track time.

 

Gustavo MENEZES

What motivated you to join Peugeot in their comeback to endurance?

I’ve always admired Peugeot’s tenacity to fight for victory across the board. To be honest I began watching endurance racing at the peak of Peugeot vs Audi. So the moment I heard that the comeback was a reality, I knew I needed to find a way to connect with Peugeot and align our goals of overall victory.

 

In your career, have you ever shared an anecdote with your future teammates? If so, which ones and with who?

I know JEV for a while now - he is a funny guy and he is very determined. I’ve raced against Mikkel in karting. James and I have been friends for a long time and we speak almost daily. Loic and I have driven at Rebellion once and he is very motivated. I haven’t had the chance to get to know Paul or Kevin yet but I’m excited to meet them!

 

What does endurance and the 24 Hours of Le Mans represent for you?

It represents the one word I live by, perseverance. Le Mans is more than a race, more than endurance, its persistence, never giving up, a team becomes a family. And after weeks of grueling work, if everything goes perfectly and everyone stays motivated, then maybe you’ll come home with a victory!

 

If I say 24 Hours of Le Mans, you say?

Timeless!

 

What motorsport moment in Peugeot history has been most engraved into your mind?

The victory in 2009 was most definitely the first time I truly watched Le Mans and the battles were historic.

 

What competitive Peugeot car do you dream of driving?

The 908 from 2009 with the v12 twin turbo engine, it would be a dream to drive with an engine screaming that way!

 

What is your favorite meal?

Nothing in this world is like a Japanese steak! But on the daily, I’m a massive fan of chicken and rice dishes!

 

What is the best meal before a race?

I eat chicken with rice, and eggs before almost anytime I get in the car.

 

What is your best quality?

I am very open, honest, and love to talk and inspire others to get the best from themselves!

 

James ROSSITER

What motivated you to join Peugeot in their comeback to endurance?

Le Mans is the dream of every driver but the chance to work with such a great brand and manufacturer only comes around once. I'm really looking forward to bringing all my experience to this project to fight for victory at Le Mans.

In your career, have you ever shared an anecdote with your future teammates? If so, which ones and with who?

 

I have some good memories with Loïc from our time as teammates in Formula 3 but there are also a lot of fun adventures shared with Gustavo since we have been friends for many years. JEV is a very close friend and we spend a lot of time together, he is always making me laugh, but he also knows when to be serious. Having said that you will have to wait and see how this new adventure turns out because it is going to be a great story!

 

What does endurance and the 24 Hours of Le Mans represent for you?

24H of Le Mans is the ultimate test of man and machine. The levels of dedication needed from the full team to fight for victory is unrivaled. It represents the ultimate challenge in our sport.

 

If I say 24 Hours of Le Mans, you say?

Let’s do it!

 

What motorsport moment in Peugeot history has been most engraved into your mind?

Climb Dance... If you don't know it then search for it on YouTube and thank me 5 mins later!

 

What competitive Peugeot car do you dream of driving?

Peugeot 405 T16 from 1988 Climb Dance.

 

What is your favorite meal?

Japanese Pasta (after living in Japan for so many years I really love it)

 

What is the best meal before a race?

Pasta and some salad

 

What is your best quality?

A gentleman never says!

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTENT

— Still images and video animation of the PEUGEOT-Total line-up available at PEUGEOT Sport’s media website: https://media.peugeot-sport.com/

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

 

—Cécile ESTENAVE, PSA Motorsport Communication
cecile.estenave@mpsa.com / +33 6 72 82 74 08

 

—Jean-François TOULISSE, Total Compétition Communication
jean-françois.toulisse@total.com / +33 6 42 15 79 77
 

 

 

PEUGEOT SPORT: PIONEERING PERFORMANCE AGAIN


“Thanks to the commitment and passion that drives everyone at PEUGEOT SPORT, the motorsport division of PEUGEOT has enjoyed success at the very highest level in numerous types of motorsport. Inspired by our heritage and expertise in the field of hybridisation, we are returning to the prestigious, exacting FIA World Endurance Championship with an LMH car in 2022.”

 

ABOUT TOTAL

Total is a broad energy Group, which produces and markets fuels, natural gas and electricity. Our 100,000 employees are committed to better energy that is safer, more affordable, cleaner and accessible to as many people as possible. Active in more than 130 countries, our ambition is to become the responsible energy major.

 

 

 

 

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