2007-2009 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

Images copyright Marshall Pruett and Michael J. Fuller
Text copyright Michael J. Fuller

Sebring 2008The raised nose has become a common feature (if somewhat aesthetically controversial) among contemporary LMPs.  Doing so frees up additional splitter area and improves airflow over the top of the diffuser.  The small duct in the nose presumably helps draw cooling air into the footwell and the mechanical components located there (power steering). 
WDWT, Sebring 2008The 908's sprint/high downforce front diffuser shows a rather aggressive center section with only two longitudinal strakes (one either side).  The yellow highlights show the height difference between the top of the splitter and the bottom edge of the diffuser.
Le Mans 2009At Le Mans 2009 Peugeot introduced their low downforce nose/diffuser.  The modification amounted to an infill panel that redirected the air over the top of the suspension rather than through it.  This was coupled with a modified front diffuser.  Interestingly enough, a similar solution was tested at Sebring on the Audi R10 back in 2006.
Le Mans 2009The execution was somewhat inelegant with awkward surface transitions.  Notice how the rising bodywork intersects with the horizontal face of the lower nose forming a pocket.  According to Peugeot's Bruno Famin, "Because the tech rules have changed we have less downforce and less power, the compromise difference is different between 2008 and 2009.  So we have had to deal with less downforce and less drag meaning we have had to adjust almost everything on the car, even if you can't clearly see it.  (So the new front end design) is to allow us to balance the car aerodynamically whilst at the same time reducing drag. The drag reduction is necessary due to the equivalency changes and the consequent loss of power."
Le Mans 2009Having a look underneath and we can see a few detailed changes such as the elongated strakes and now the split line around the nose box/monocoque interface now extends further rearward (compare with the sprint/high downforce splitter image above).  The diffuser's central tunnels appear slightly taller as well.  The bodywork locaters (1) locate into the recess pointed out in the image below.
Le Mans 2009From here we can see the front diffuser continues to rise snaking above the lower wishbone but below the pushrod and upper wishbone.  The height of the diffuser's trailing edge is particularly high; it is effectively to the height of the valance covers that connect the monocoque to the fenders.  The end result is of a full length tunnel that extends from the tip of the splitter ending at the entry to the radiators.
Sebring 2008The entire nose/diffuser quick-releases off in seconds allowing for very rapid replacement and access to the front suspension.
Sebring 2008The shutter panels are for regulations compliance and cover the suspension and underfloor from view brining the bodywork in that area up to at least 200 mm in height from the reference plane (the height bumps up to 400 mm once past the cockpit opening).
Sebring 2008Within the valley between the front fender and the monocoque is a turning vane that is attached to the inner fender.
Sebring 2008At Sebring twin sets of dive planes with outboard gurney "endplates" were utilized.
Peugeot 908, Sebring 2009Interestingly, a year later (and at the same track) and the lower dive plane is larger (extends further forward) and the upper seems to have more camber.  The outer end fence is much taller on the lower diveplane as well.

With the appearance of more front balance being required, it becomes doubtful that the ACO achieved their goal of less overall downforce with the rear wing reductions.
Sebring 2008A full set of front fender louvers also augmented the need for more front grip in the face of higher total downforce levels being used at Sebring.

ęCopyright 2009, Michael J. Fuller