Peugeot Not Ruling Out Future LMP1 Return; Cites Budget Concerns

Photo: Peugeot

Photo: Peugeot

Peugeot has not completely ruled out a return to factory LMP1 competition in the future, but has admitted that it’s currently unable to secure the necessary budget to mount a top-level prototype effort. (En Français)

Speaking to Endurance-Info, Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin said the escalating costs to compete in the premier class of the FIA World Endurance Championship currently has the French manufacturer not being able to commit to such a program.

“The budget is [the problem],” Famin told Endurance-Info. “The President of PSA dreams of a return of Peugeot to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and more generally, in endurance [racing].

“But for this there are conditions… That PSA gets better, which is pretty much engaged and that the requested budget is sharply down.

“Currently it’s just an idea and a target on the horizon.”

Peugeot, which ran factory 908s in Le Mans-labeled series from 2007-2011, pulled the plug on its program just weeks prior to the inaugural round of the WEC in 2012 due to company wide financial issues.

The French automaker has since rebounded in the industry, posting earnings and an increase in global sales in the first quarter of 2016.

However, with Audi and Porsche repordidely spending in excess of $200 million annually, and Toyota having recently increased its 2016 budget to nearly $100 million, Famin said Peugeot would be unable to compete with those numbers.

“The FIA WEC is a magnificent championship with beautiful cars,” Famin said. “The series is ideal for manufacturers and is much better than F1.

“The technology is interesting as well as the format. Manufacturers fight with [each other] and we remember the manufacturers as winners more than drivers, with a few exceptions.

“The big reservation concerns the budget, which is currently far too high.  We can only praise the approach of the FIA and ACO to reduce costs.

“Although the Germans have reduced [their program to] two cars at Le Mans, it is still something symbolic.

“Two-thirds of the F1 teams would love to have budgets LMP1 top teams.”

Famin admitted Peugeot had previously evaluated a Garage 56 entry but ultimately did not move forward with it.

“Garage 56 is very interesting for us and we thought about it shortly after stopping the 908 program,” he said. “Currently, it’s [the concept is for it] to serve as a springboard to LMP1.

“Peugeot will return to endurance racing the day it will be possible to mount a real project with something behind it.”

10 Comments

  1. Nick1

    May 6, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Considering Nissan only spent half of what Toyota spent, I dont blame Peugeot

  2. Tarek R.

    May 6, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Costs in LMP1 are crazy. LMP1-Privateer is struggling and the ACO won’t successed to attract new manufacturers with the current rules and budgets.

    I am really missing the days when customer teams were running factory built LMP1s.

  3. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    May 6, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I feel like all it will take is one of the three LMP1 hybrid manufacturers to drop out for some serious budget regulations or cost cutting to come about. The cars are amazing but no one can afford a few hundred million long term.

    • Phil

      May 7, 2016 at 3:07 am

      There is serious cost cutting going on behind the scenes now, with limitations on testing, aero development, personel etc. Stuff that we don’t see, and makes little difference to the show.

      Such cost cutting is one of the primary reasons for the 2018 rules. Maintain and even expand the technological freedom, while reducing costs in other, less crucial, areas.

  4. CM

    May 6, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I know they talked about limiting budgets in LMP1 in the off season, I think that’s the only way their going to get other manufactures to join. The amount that Audi and Porsche are spending is just stupid, I give props to Toyota for being even competitive with half the budget.

  5. Steven

    May 6, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    The only way to curb the costs is to either eliminate the hybrid system or make a spec system for everyone to use.

    • morningview66

      May 7, 2016 at 1:21 am

      Which kindof defies the point, as that is what interesting the manufacturers to race in WEC.

      Its a bit of a loose, loose situation for the WEC really.

      Things are quite finely balanced. Its become a great series, but with Nissans failure, it only takes another manufacturer to pull out and things are looking soo good!

  6. jon

    May 7, 2016 at 1:29 am

    If the budgets are that ridiculous then the ACO really needs to get LMP1 affordable and populated.GT3 engines would bring the manufacturers and an open cost capped chassis.Manufacturers should be forced to sell customer cars like Porsche used to in the old days.
    The hybrid cars are great but we all know when costs get high manufacturers drop out and the series have nothing.There are only 6 cars in the top class this year.

    • Phil

      May 7, 2016 at 3:14 am

      Manufacturers will always want to bring their own technology. Such have programs are largely driven by R&D budgets, and as such have are a relatively good value way to learn lessons, and implement technology, that will be used in millions of road vehicles.

      On the privateer side, there is plenty enough interest from teams yearning to get back into P1. As good as P2 is, it’s a whole other game going for overall wins and (more realistically) podiums. These new 17/18 P1 privateer regulations are crucial to up performance dramatically while keeping a lid in costs.

  7. Gary

    January 7, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Hybrids have been around for years in many types of vehicles. Why does the emphasis on r&doing for future road cars have to be about the engine and power. Why don’t the wec take a different stance and say any engine with limited fuel. Nat Asp only with innovation on braking or serviceability or something. E.g. I’ve seen literature and known through my own experience how hard some maintenanice can be working on some particular road cars so let’s see some innovation there. That way more manufacturer’s may well get involved and we can all sit and enjoy some good old traditional racing again with many big names again.

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