Peugeot is to return to the world of sportscar racing in 2022 after announcing an assault on the World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours as part of the new ‘hypercar’ class, which launches next year.
Peugeot has won Le Mans 24 Hours three times, twice with the almighty, Group C-ending 905 in 1992 and 1993, and then again in 2009 in the middle of a titanic half-decade-long duel with Audi with the diesel-powered Peugeot 908.
But just as the World Endurance Championship (WEC) was about to be reborn in 2012, Peugeot shocked the motorsport world by pulling its entry just months before the season began. The team, which had been working on a replacement for the 908 that would align with the WEC’s first generation of hybrid rules, was left to shut operations on what had expected to be a title assault against Toyota and Audi.
Ever since rumour and speculation has swirled around a possible return to the world of endurance motorsport, but Peugeot, and its parent PSA group, has always stated that budgets were too high during the big-spending LMP1-H era for it to consider a return.
But it seems that the WEC’s new cost-cutting ‘hypercar’ formula, which sees cars balanced together and allowed to run with or without hybrid systems, has coaxed the French manufacturer back into competition.
The as-yet unnamed latest challenger from Peugeot is expected to run with a hybrid system, as part of PSA’s push for more electric and hybrid road car sales.
Peugeot Brand Director Jean-Philippe Imparato said “The Peugeot brand’s passion for motorsport has always played a core role in achieving the many victories we have scored in our history. The changes that the FIA WEC is introducing fit now with the transition we are undergoing ourselves with the electrification of our range and the launch of high-performance products, developed in close association with PSA Motorsport.”
Currently the new WEC rules are to be contested by Toyota and Aston Martin from its launch at the start of the 2020/21 season, with privateer entries from Glickenhaus and ByKolles hoping that the new BoP (balance of performance) rules mean they can now compete on an even footing.
Peugeot’s effort will join the series as it begins its third season under new rules, with more details to be announced at the start of 2020.