1992 905 Evo 1 Bis #1 Pilots: D. Warwick, Y. Dalmas, M. Blundell Team: Peugeot Talbot Sport Race: 1st overall (C1 class) at Le Mans in 1992 Spark - 43LM92 (resin)
Formed in 1981, Peugeot Talbot Sport (PTS) was PSA Peugeot-Citroën’s motorsports division. For seven years they only competed in the World Rally Championship. In fact, in Group B their Peugeot 205 Turbo was highly successful. However, at the end of the 1986 season FIA terminated the class. That being so, PTS had two options – stick to rallying and create a brand-new Group A car, or race elsewhere. They chose the latter, and in 1988 they announced the 905 project, aiming for the 1991 World Sportscar Championship. In the 80s Group C racing was quite popular, so a Group C car would be a great propaganda tool for the brand. Besides, ACO’s new “3.5 liter” regulations for Le Mans were also an incentive. The new rules meant Peugeot could enter a car without having to face thoroughly developed machines. Therefore, with the playing field leveled, Peugeot had a shot.
The 905 Evo 1 was a very sophisticated car. The chassis, designed by Dassault (the French aviation company), was a carbon fiber monocoque. As a suspension system they used double wishbones front and rear, and brakes were carbon-ceramic disks. To power the 905 PTS created a completely new engine, called SA35-A1. It was an 80º V10 with an alloy block with dry sump, and DOHC with four valves per cylinder. Displacing 3499 cm³, with direct fuel injection it delivered 670 hp through a 6-speed manual gearbox. Mounted longitudinally and amidships, it was a semi-stressed member of the chassis. Covering everything up was a carbon fiber body, with a few design cues that evoked Peugeot cars of the period.
The 905 debuted in September of 1990 in the World Sports Prototype Championship, in Montreal. Unfortunately, however, a broken fuel pump retired the car on lap 22. Even so, things looked good for Peugeot, since the older (and faster) Group C cars were penalized. With high hopes, PTS arrived at La Sarthe in 1991 with two cars. They were the only factory team running in the 3.5-liter formula, so they started in 1st and 2nd places. Nonetheless, their race was a disaster. Though scary-fast while qualifying, both cars had engine troubles, and were out before nightfall. Just dandy for Mazda.
With the poor results at Le Mans, PTS got busy on the car throughout 1991. In the following year they showed up with an almost different car. Even the name was different – 905 Evo 1 Bis. With the exception of the chassis, almost everything in the car was new or redesigned. For instance, the redesigned engine, called SA35-A2, offered 20 hp more, and the body work was a lot different. And all that effort paid off, since Derek Warwick, Yannick Dalmas and Mark Blundell, aboard the 905 Evo 1 Bis #1 came in first place overall. And to show that was not an accident, 905 #2 finished in third place.
Perhaps because this is an overall winner, the 905 Evo 1 is a hard-to-find model. Back in 2018, when I got the 1993 winner, this one was already scarce. Being honest, however, I didn’t bother much because as you can see both cars are almost identical. Honestly, they are really hard to tell apart. And just as important, I hadn’t seen Spark’s 905 Evo up for grabs for ages – neither of them. That being so, when I found this one in Australia I bought it on the spot. It wasn’t exactly cheap (😣), yet being an overall winner, it was a must buy. Glad I did, because in scale it’s a dandy. Yet, VERY similar to the 1993 car, with just minute differences. Even so, they make a terrific duo together. Nonetheless, as nice as both are, having both is only for the Le Mans nut.