Australia’s David Brabham will make his debut for Peugeot Sport at this weekend’s Spa-Francorchamps 1000km.
The event at the famed Belgian circuit is the traditional lead-in event to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
Brabham will join former Formula One stars Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz in the No.9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP at Spa.
It will be Brabham’s first competitive outing at the wheel of one of the Peugeot diesel V12 powered sportscars that produce more than 515kW (700hp) of power.
Brabham has previously scored class victories and finished second outright at Le Mans, and he will continue his quest to become the first Australian to win Le Mans since his brother Geoff did, coincidentally also for Peugeot, in 1993.
Peugeot has chosen the ultra-fast circuit of Spa-Francorchamps –– to fine-tune its preparations for its prime objective of the 2009 season, the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The fast nature of the Belgian circuit is ideal for preparation for Le Mans – the best lap posted by the N°7 908 in 2008 represented an average speed of almost 210km/h.
Peugeot scored pole position for Le Mans in 2007 and 2008, but is yet to convert its pace to overall victory – consequently, Team Peugeot's 2009 programme is entirely focused on the French endurance classic.
"Spa stands out above all as our last chance for a dress rehearsal in race conditions prior to Le Mans," stressed Peugeot Sport Director Olivier Quesnel.
"It will give the mechanics an opportunity to carry out pit-stops following the introduction of new regulations.
“It will also enable us to work on our race strategy, while the drivers will be able to familiarise themselves with racing in traffic and with the 908.
“Spa will also give us a chance to validate our latest technical specification – the end result is not our priority.
“If we need to call a car in to change or check something, as we did at Sebring, then we won't hesitate."
The No.7 Peugeot 908 HDi will be driven by formula one test driver Christian Klien and former Champ Car drivers, Frenchmen Nicolas Minassian and Simon Pagenaud.
Peugeot’s only other race to date in 2009 was the Sebring 12-Hour in America in March, which the team used as an opportunity to validate the evolutions introduced for 2009 and to see how it compared with its rivals as part of its build-up to Le Mans.
The 12 Hours of Sebring enabled the squad to learn a number of lessons after a busy race which saw the lead 908 HDi finish second.
The car of Sebastien Bourdais, Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin crossed the line 22.279s after the No.2 Audi, which is equivalent to the time it lost as a result of a slow puncture.
Audi will not be at Spa, however a new challenger in Aston Martin will be.
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