Peugeot Sport has surprised the racing world today by confirming, with a single, tweet, that it will be joining the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2022 with a hybrid-powered ‘Hypercar’.
There are no other details yet available, but this is a clear statement of intent that the marque, which pulled out of the inaugural 2012 WEC season just weeks before the first race, is set to make their first appearance in the FIA WEC.
It will also see Peugeot’s first race entry in endurance racing with a hybrid sportscar, it’s planned (and tested) diesel-powered 908 Hybrid4 stillborn as a result of the factory-programmes cancellation in the wake of the major financial woes for the parent company.
Since then the PSA Group (Peugeot Citroen) has effected a significant financial recovery, has acquired the Opel/Vauxhall brands, ex-GM Europe, and is currently negotiating with Fiat Chrysler Auto to create one of the word’s largest automotive groups.
It has been signalling a potential move to a global motorsports programme for some time but the announcement today comes as a considerable surprise with FIA WEC boss Gerard Neveu amongst the first to welcome the news of the entry.
Peugeot has stated that the “cost savings permitted by the WEC’s new Hypercar regulations and the confirmation that the series will feature hybrid power units led the Groupe PSA Executive Committee to approve the Peugeot brand’s proposal to participate in the world’s premier endurance racing championship from 2022.”
“I am very excited at the prospect of channelling the skills and passion of my team into this project,” said PSA Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot. “It is a new challenge and I know our experts will rise to it with another demonstration of their will to win with teams financed by the Group’s brands, fuelled by their long experience of topflight FIA championships and hunger for success.”
Peugeot Brand Director Jean-Philippe Imparato added: “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 and foreshadowed by the Concept 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered. These initiatives are completely in tune with Peugeot’s ‘Motion and E-motion’ brand signature.”
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), commented: “Today’s announcement is exciting for two reasons. It symbolises both the arrival of a new competitor in the Hypercar category which will come into being from the start of next season, as well as the return of a leading brand in Endurance racing. Peugeot has made history in terms of endurance racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the event certainly, but also always producing spectacular machines, particularly appreciated by spectators. I can’t wait to see the French racing car that will take over from the winning 905 and 908.”
Gérard Neveu, CEO of the WEC, added: “What great news this is for everyone involved in endurance racing. Peugeot’s arrival in the new Hypercar category, alongside Aston Martin and Toyota, can only encourage more manufacturers to commit to the top level of endurance racing. We are so happy and honoured to welcome back a competitor and marque with such a great history of success as Peugeot has.”
With this announcement, Peugeot joins Toyota, Aston Martin, Glickenhaus and ByKolles in formally committing to Hypercar. It now seems clear that the announcement relates to a full-season effort in 2022/23 the third season of the Hypercar regulations.