Peugeot 90X racer
Peugeot 90X – Click above for high-res image gallery

French automaker PSA's assault on Audi is never-ending. As if the likes of the Peugeot RCZ and Citroën C5 weren't enough to challenge their German rival in the showroom, Citroën is striving to eclipse Audi's achievements on the rally stages. But arguably the most exciting battle has been the challenge which Peugeot has mounted against Audi on the endurance racing circuit.

After years of dominating Le Mans with the R8 (the racing prototype, not the street-legal supercar), Audi took on a new challenge with the diesel-powered R10 TDI. Peugeot joined the race both literally and figuratively with the 908 HDi FAP, so Audi fired back with the R15 TDI. This season, Audi is upping its game yet again with the R15 TDI Plus, but while the 908 soldiers on, don't think for one minute that the French team doesn't have a trick up its sleeve.

That trick comes in the form of the 90X, the next-generation Le Mans Prototype from Peugeot Sport. Designed to meet the 2011 regulations being set out by race organizers ACO, the 90X has been undergoing testing at undisclosed tracks in Europe. Peugeot's only released limited information on the car's development, saying little more than that it incorporates a new "shark fin" over the engine cover designed to keep it on the ground in case of a crash.

Word has it that the 90X will incorporate a more comprehensive hybrid drivetrain than the KERS-style regenerative braking system in the current 908, but for now we'll just have to get by on Peugeot's statement (after the jump) and the trio of images in the gallery below.


Related GalleryPeugeot 90X Le Mans Prototype

[Source: Peugeot]
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PEUGEOT 90X BREAKS COVER

In parallel with its 2010 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP race programme, Peugeot Sport is busy designing and developing a new prototype that will defend its colours in 2011.

Peugeot Sport's principal mission accomplished
Having been kept secret in Peugeot Sport's factory in Vélizy, near Paris, the team's new endurance challenger – known under the codename 90X – has been out for its first track test. "Our objective was to start track testing before the end of the year," says Peugeot Sport Director Olivier Quesnel. "I am pleased to report that we have now done that. Even so, there is still a long way to go and a considerable amount of work to be done as we prepare for 2011."

The 90X's technical characteristics
The 90X complies with the new ACO's 2011 regulations, and notably incorporates the extra "shark fin" bodywork on the engine cover. This new feature is designed to help prevent the car from becoming airborne in the case of a high-speed spin. As with the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, Peugeot Sport has opted for a closed cockpit design, which still meets the mandatory 900kg weight requirement. "We are still exploring several options with regard to the engine and technology we will use," points out Bruno Famin, the Technical Director of Peugeot Sport. "Work on the engine's development is ongoing. Endurance racing is an ideal proving ground to provide us with the opportunity to showcase all the brand's technologies."