After the surprise news midweek of Peugeot’s forthcoming return to top-level sportscar racing with the new Hypercar regulations several interviews with prominent figures from the PSA group are now beginning to pop up in French periodicals
Ex-Ligier man Olivier Jensonnie will direct the technical programme. He was working for Ligier until recently.
In contrast to speculation elsewhere, Peugeot has confirmed that the programme will be a full factory effort by PSA Motorsport/ Peugeot Sport. The car is set to be created and based in their plant at Satory which will shortly become less busy with the confirmation yesterday that Citroen is to depart the FIA World Rally Championship in 2020.
There is no commitment as yet (nor any rejection) of an alliance with service providers for the programme (as ORECA currently provide for Toyota).
Peugeot has re-iterated too that the car will be a prototype-based hybrid, rear-engined but with a hybrid-driven front axle. There is no intention at present to build road car versions of the race car. The car will though, have strong Peugeot styling cues.
Amongst the really very interesting aspects of the story in Auto Hebdo by WEC correspondent Thibault Villemant and Editor Romain Bernard are that the decision to ‘green-light’ the programme was taken very recently, on November 13, with the first public communication of the board decision immediately following.
And beyond that, there’s a bit of a tease from Peugeot that whilst they are targeting a full-season entry for the 2022/23 FIA WEC they might be ready earlier than that, potentially for a debut towards the end of the previous season and possible a Le Mans run in 2022.
That though would require a change to the current FIA WEC regulations for the LMP1 class that prohibits entries from non-full season contenders in one-off or selected races.
One other significant additional snippet from Auto Hebdo confirms that Peugeot is one of the manufacturers directly engaged with the development of the 2023/24 Regulations to introduce zero-emissions Hydrogen-fuelled car to the FIA WEC and Le Mans 24 Hours.