Following recent in-game images of Spa-Francorchamps and work-in-progress updates on Portimão’s Algarve International Circuit, the Peugeot 9X8 has been unveiled within Le Mans Ultimate.
To date, only the Porsche 963 LMDh and Ferrari 488 GTE have been showcased – both of which were playable in-person during June’s centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans event – but the 9X8 represents the first car the be created for the upcoming simulator under the Hypercar (LMH) ruleset.
The eschews conventional thinking by avoiding the use of a rear wing and relying heavily on ground effect aerodynamics. Since its debut during last season’s Monza round of the World Endurance Championship, it has secured on podium finish at that same venue in July of this year. The team also led during parts of this year’s 24-hour race.
In total, there’s nearly 1000bhp through a combination of combustion and electric powertrains.
The livery on display within Le Mans Ultimate is designed by Spanish artist J.Demsky to hark back to the French car manufacturer’s successes in the 1990s, with two outright 24 Hours of Le Mans victories and one World Sportscar championship with variations of the 905.
Creating new vehicles, re-building existing models
The model has been built using Peugeot Sport’s Computer Aided Design (CAD) files and reference photos taken during visits to WEC rounds. Mirza Rustemović, Senior 3D Artist at developer Studio 397 states “We haven’t had this much data and reference material,” when working on its prior title, rFactor 2.
The aim, as the official rights holder to the championship and tentpole French event, is to have the entire grid represented in the game, as teed up by a June teaser trailer, with work continuing ahead of the late 2023 release date.
“I have been tasked with [creating] the Toyota, and I am the senior lead on the Vanwall and Peugeot to help bring the final polish – a nice variety,” explains Rustemović.
“In Portimão, we had a good tour around the Cadillac garage and spent a good amount of time with the team manager. We also had good, open conversations with Mr Jim Glickenhaus who understood what we were trying to achieve.”
Of note, even though it has not been showcased so far, the Oreca 07 which runs in the LMP2 class will be rebuilt for Le Mans Ultimate, as opposed to using the existing rFactor 2 models. The same is true for the GTE category. The team claims this is due to implementing new materials and more detailed textures.
“The Ferrari 499P has a very special place in my heart so I have overseen the modelling [of] this car and have also built a new Oreca from scratch,” said Paulo Matias, Senior 3D Artist at Studio 397.
“One thing in our team is that we share work. We see who is faster, and who is more experienced in certain areas, and we shift things around accordingly.
“A prime example was the Oreca, I looked after the exterior, while Laurent took charge of the interior. I also look after other members of the team who are building other cars such as the Porsche 911 GTE and give them feedback.”
Recently, the game’s social media released images of dirt building up on 963s, another new feature in development. This is said to be a dynamic system that applies to car’s bodies and windows.
“We have been working on it for a while and wanted to bring it in for this game. We have a few prototypes currently and we are refining [them] to make it as realistic as possible,” said Laurent Evenisse, also a Senior 3D Artist on the title.
Le Mans Ultimate is expected in December of this year for PC.
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