Peugeot put up a thrilling fight at Le Mans in 2010 as they sought to retain their 2009 title against the onslaught of those indomitable Audis. But their campaign ended in misery after all three cars suffered the same engine failure. Olivier Quesnel, Head of Peugeot Sport said at the time, “However much work you put in, it’s Le Mans itself that decides who walks away with the trophy.”

Motorsport fans from across the world shared in Peugeot’s pain as its remaining car retired just 2 hours from the end, despite being much faster than the Audi’s and dominating the opening hours.

Fast forward to 2011 and Peugeot are determined to leave no stone unturned in their quest to regain the 24 hour title.

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]However much work you put in, it’s Le Mans itself that decides who walks away with the trophy.[/blockquote]

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 complies with the ACO’s new 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.

Let’s hope lady luck is with Peugeot in 2011 and that the 90X is both reliable as well as fast.