Building a life-sized Le Mans Hypercar with LEGO® elements
In 1923, a new type of race that would push cars and their drivers to new limits was introduced. The 24 Hours of Le Mans has since become a legend and, 100 years later, is the oldest endurance race in the world.
It’s an epic test of stamina, engineering and performance, and to celebrate its centenary, we’ve released a new LEGO® set based on one of the competing cars.
The new LEGO Technic™ PEUGEOT 9X8 24H Le Mans Hybrid Hypercar lets you build a 1:10 scale model of the car featuring the V6 engine connected to the rear wheels and a simple LEGO Technic replica of the electric motor connected to the front wheels. The model is not battery-driven.
The set also sports the hypercar’s unique doors, low-emission hybrid powertrain Technic cables, powerful suspension and elegant profile.
But that’s not all we did to celebrate.
The 24-hour Endurance Hyper Build
This year at Le Mans, a team from the LEGO Group and Peugeot raced against the clock to build a huge 11:1 version of the LEGO Technic PEUGEOT 9X8 24H Le Mans Hybrid Hypercar in JUST 24 HOURS.
You heard right – an upscaled version of the LEGO Technic set was built right next to the classic Circuit de la Sarthe track in the spectator village at Le Mans.
The building took place in the hours leading up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race at a scale comparable to the real Peugeot Hypercar.
It was an epic challenge that pushed our team to the limits as they attempted the build in such a short period.Want to know how it went? Watch all the action here...
But much like the race at Le Mans, this challenge wasn’t just 24 hours long; in fact, the planning, designing and preparation started ten months before the race day.
Say hello to hyper elements
Lubor Zelinka, a LEGO Design Manager Specialist, was on the project from the beginning. We caught up with him so he could tell us about a brand-new innovation being used for the first time.
They are called hyper elements, which are essentially upscaled versions of regular LEGO Technic elements that have been designed and pre-assembled ahead of race day.
“A hyper element looks like a huge LEGO Technic element, and we have used many regular Technic elements and put them together, to look like one big element,” explains Lubor.
The complexity of each hyper element is comparable to a large LEGO Technic set, and then on the day, the team assembled these pre-built parts to create the full-sized car.“This (pictured) is the very first prototype we built to test the hyper element idea – to see if it can be modularized and if it behaves correctly when scaled up.”
While the hyper elements would help make the build possible in the 24 hours, it was still no easy feat. Moreover, designing and building these complex parts has been an extraordinary challenge.
“To put it into perspective, the LEGO Technic set that we’re upscaling contains 1,800 elements. For the big-build, each hyper element can range from around 600 elements upwards – the largest hyper element we’ve created contains roughly 5,000 LEGO Technic elements. Just think, we have created 711 hyper elements in total to create the big car.”
So, as you can imagine, they’re HUGE and much bigger than our largest LEGO set yet.
That’s 711 large-scale Technic hyper elements that had to be designed, tested and assembled in the weeks and months leading up to race day. It’s all thanks to the wonderful team based in Kladno, a city in the Czech Republic that’s home to an official LEGO model-building center.
Follow the instructions
Now, LEGO fans will remember that we have built full-size cars before. The Bugatti Chiron and the Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 were examples of ambition and innovation at their finest.
But those projects were assembled over months, not within 24 hours.
In fact, there were lot of firsts with this project. It was the first time we took on a live build at an event in only 24 hours, and the first time we used hyper elements to build a life-size LEGO car (before this, hyper elements didn’t exist).
So, how did the team plan to achieve this momentous challenge?
“We were trying to replicate not only the new set, but the building process as well.”
The instructions for the Le Mans build are almost identical to the instructions for the buyable 1:10 set, but they had to make slight alterations for the upscaled car.
There’s something pretty delightful about the fact that after all the detailed design and intricate engineering, in the end, it’s like any other LEGO set, and it comes down to a box of elements, a set of instructions and someone to put it all together.
Anything is possible
Ahead of the race, we asked Lubor the big question: did think the team would get the full-sized car built within the 24-hour time limit at one of the biggest racing events of the year?
“It’s going to be really tough, and everything must click for us to make it happen. There won’t be any sleep for those 24 hours, that’s for sure, but I believe it's possible,” he said with a smile.
Now that the race is over, and we know they managed to complete the 24-hour challenge, we couldn’t be happier for the team and all they have accomplished.
Product under license by PEUGEOT™
Official 24 Hours of Le Mans Licensed product
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