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Group C: The Rise and Fall of the Golden Age of Endurance Racing: Peugeot

Submitted by on August 18, 2021

Erik Maris driving a Peugeot 905 Evo 1B in the entrance of Eau Rouge during the Spa Classic back in 2019 / Story and images by Marcel Hundscheid/Speed-O-Graphica

In the latest edition of our Group C retrospective, we take a look at French manufacturer Peugeot.

Peugeot entered the World Sportscar Championship with their 905 sports prototype at the end of the 1990 season, with Peugeot Talbot Sport announcing the 905 project for competition in 1991. French aircraft manufacturer Dassault engineered the carbon fiber chassis combined with a Peugeot SA35-A1 naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V10 generating 660 hp.

Former Formula 1 driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille drove the first 905 in the summer of 1990 at Magny-Cours. Jabouille and Keke Rosberg from Finland debuted the 905 during the Canadian round of the World Sportscar Championship in Montreal.

The first part of the 1991 season didn’t quite go to plan, with Peugeot suffering both reliability and performance issues. The 24 Hours of Le Mans on home soul were dramatic for the marque, as neither of their two cars made it past past the four-hour mark.

Peugeot’s main opponent was the Jaguar XJR-14, powered by a Cosworth HB 3.5 liter V8. Peugeot’s answer came with the heavily revised 905B, featuring advanced aerodynamics, a two-tier rear wing, an optional full-width front wing and the more powerful SA35-A2 engine. With the upgraded 905B, Peugeot managed to win the World Sportscar Championship rounds at Magny-Cours and Mexico, taking the top two spots each time.

Peugeot’s update turned out to be a bull’s eye and the 905B finished 1st and 3rd in the 1992 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Toyota claiming the second step. In 1993, the French team won the great race again, improving on the previous year and occupying the entire podium with the 905 Evo 1B.

As the World Sportscar Championship ceased at the end of 1992, Peugeot decided to enter Le Mans with their Evo 1B and poured their full effort into the 1993 running of the event. Christophe Bouchut, Eric Helary and Geoff Brabham drove Peugeot to a third consecutive overall victory. This was another podium lockout, with Thierry Boutsen, Yannick Dalmas and Teo Fabi driving the nr. 1 Peugeot to second place and Philippe Alliot, Mauro Baldi and Jean-Pierre Jabouille third with the nr. 2 Peugeot.

Didier Guenat captured in a 905 Evo 1B into the breaking zone of Arnage at the Le Mans Classic in 2018.

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