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Peugeot Unlikely to Enter LMP1; Shifts Focus to World Rallycross

Peugeot opts for World Rallycross involvement, LMP1 unlikely…

Photo: Hansen Motorsport

Peugeot is unlikely to re-enter endurance racing in the near future, with the French manufacturer having announced Wednesday an increased involvement in the FIA World Rallycross Championship for 2018.

Nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb will represent Peugeot in WRX next year, in a stepped up effort from this year’s works-supported program with Hansen Motorsport.

The move, believed to be influenced by the soon-to-be all-electric WRX class, has essentially ruled out a Peugeot LMP1 effort, which had been under evaluation for at least the last 24 months.

“The brand wants to embark on a new challenge with the idea of ​​accompanying our own energy transition but also to create a strong and unique bond with new customers and the new generation,” said Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato.

Talks between Peugeot and the ACO had intensified since Audi’s withdrawal from the FIA World Endurance Championship late last year, with a new set of LMP1 regulations for 2020, developed with input from Peugeot, having been presented at Le Mans in June.

Plans for rapid-charging hybrid plug-in systems, however, were abandoned less than two months later after Porsche’s announcement that it would also exit the top prototype class, forcing a complete re-think of the future LMP1 regulations.

ACO Responds to Peugeot’s Decision

The ACO has “accepted” Peugeot’s decision to intensify its WRX program instead of a re-entry into LMP1 competition, but has not given up hope for the automaker to return to endurance racing in the future.

“We can only accept it and fix an appointment with them in the years to come to prove to them the interest of our branch of motorsport, and the validity of the direction taken in endurance in the areas of cost capping and technology, which other manufacturers and other teams working alongside us will prove to them,” a statement from the ACO read.

“We’re pursuing our strategy built around an accessible blue-riband category with budgets that are much smaller than those required in recent years: these grew exponentially as was very often the case in the past because of the involvement of several manufacturers.

“We’ll adapt ourselves to this natural cycle in endurance and take appropriate action.

“More than ever our approach is constructive, and we’re actively engaged in boosting the appeal of endurance in a changing global context.”

The ACO has yet to reveal its revised 2020 LMP1 regulations, with talks understood to still be ongoing with IMSA for a possible new global ruleset incorporating next-generation DPis.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. CM

    October 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    What a surprise, a French manufacture running away from a challenge…

  2. rissas dad

    October 4, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    well there’s always ginetta

  3. Therandomguy

    October 4, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    That’s no surprise.

    ACO and FIA need to increase numbers for LMP1 by making it cost effective yet have it lots of power whilst balanced without BOP.

  4. Big Robbo

    October 4, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Why dont the ACO just admit they are wrong and accept DPI as the most cost effective way to get manufacturers involved

    • AudiTT

      October 4, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      DPI will be changing their regs in 2020/21 as it’s outgrown the LMP2 baseline. At that stage it makes sense to align with LMP1 as a baseline.

      • Jenner

        October 4, 2017 at 3:17 pm

        Will GM, Mazda, Acura step up? Gonna cost some $$$$$$$$$$$$ to play in the P1 sandbox.

        • John

          October 4, 2017 at 7:12 pm

          That’s a big ask.

          GM couldn’t even find some extra change under the cushions to run a PWC program, so they canned it to beef up the DPi program. Where would the money for a LM24 run, never mind a full international WEC campaign, come from? Or do they break custom and do a customer program?

          Mazda has a history at LM, but wouldn’t their finances allow it?

          The Acura project is a domestic HPD program. Honda’s big international budget is literally going up in flames in F1. Penske wants an overall LM24 win to add to his list of accomplishments, so if he can find someone to pay for it, I could see a 24 attempt happening. But his position on running in events where his sponsors don’t participate in the market is clear — he’s against it. He’s never liked the flyaway IndyCar races when they still did them, because they have no relevance to his sponsors. He’s not going to do the WEC, if it even survives.

          • jareth Belanger

            October 7, 2017 at 8:48 pm

            GM had the funds, but why waste money on a PWC program that gains no marketability for Cadillac when they already have it with the DPi?

            Mazda? On point with that, they tried saving money by using a production diesel, on a 12yo chassis, then an outdated AER engine, then keeping an Oudated underperforming AER engine and putting it in the budget priced Riley/Multimatic. They did however higher Joest, so maybe something was learnt?

            Acura/HPD has competed internationally so IDK what you are talking about with budget being gone, they were FIRED. Also honda F1 is a different purse than HPD/Acura and INDY. As far as penske, if Roger Penske gets sponsorship that will pay for his team to go to lemans. He will, he’s a business man

      • tracer

        October 4, 2017 at 3:54 pm

        How has DPi outgrown the LMP2 baseline? Seems to me that the class is just now growing into it. 🤔

        • AudiTT

          October 4, 2017 at 5:02 pm

          IMSA and Scott Atherton have already said a reg revision will take place in 2021. By basing cars on LMP1 privateer regulations, it opens up possibilities to attract McLaren and others.

          • Max

            October 4, 2017 at 7:09 pm

            LMP1-L isn’t much different than a souped up P2 anyway. All it means is more aero freedom which should allow manufacturers to do more Mazda DPi/Corvette DP like treatments of the bodywork. There shouldn’t be any crazy hybrid nonsense if they want to keep a good thing going.

  5. Davy

    October 4, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    ByKolles and Ginetta will carry the banner!

    • Tyler Sanders

      October 4, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Don’t forget about SMP also

  6. Anonymous

    October 4, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Well that’s it then Toyota will almost certainly walk away at the end of next WEC Season.

    It will leave Ginetta, ByKolles and BR/Dallara (Maybe Oreca and Wirth) to carry LMP1’s banner for the foreseeable future.

    • Guest

      October 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Think they announce their withdraw after Fuji in a week.

  7. Justin Porter

    October 4, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    The logical conclusion of events.

    The ACO has been brilliantly frittering away its slim chance at bringing the jaded Peugeot back into the LMP1 fold. For every release that Peugeot has presented explaining their disinterest in the cost of LMP1-H, the ACO has doubled-down on expanding hybrid drive. Only now, at the moment of crisis did the ACO state that concessions could be made. Never did they say what concessions. Never did they admit a poor choice of course. Their possession of Le Mans, the ultimate prize, convinced them that Peugeot could be forced. Their recollection of the bewildering coercion of a premature Toyota LMP1 program into the WEC, brought about by Peugeot’s hasty exit no less, gave them unbridled and undeserved confidence.

    It is early, but one wonders if the tale of the World Endurance Championship will some day receive the same bitter weariness among racing historians as Group C Category 2 or The Split.

    • tracer

      October 4, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Well said.

    • TF110

      October 4, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      That’s why the ACO announced that manufacturers can enter in the lmp1 class without hybrids… So they “expanded hybrid drive” in only your imagination. Try to keep up with the actual news instead of making up your own.

      • Justin Porter

        October 5, 2017 at 11:20 am

        “Only now, at the moment of crisis did the ACO state that concessions could be made. Never did they say what concessions. Never did they admit a poor choice of course.”

        Unless I’m mistaken, this portion of my post addresses that the ACO lifted the LMP1-H requirement, but the ACO has not publicly stated any actual method by which LMP1 costs would be contained OR whether or not hybrid LMP1’s would be throttled down OR petrol LMP1’s would have fewer restrictions on such nonsensical items as fuel flow.

        And if you would like to address the ACO’s “Equivalence of Technology” method of BoP, I would like to point out that it remains a concept, not a written rulebook or formula and a declared, hard-and-fast FORMULA is what prospective manufacturers from Oreca up to BMW have stated they want.

  8. Mark - Toronto

    October 4, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Not surprising, but I’m actually waiting to see what their Rally Raid plans are after Dakar next year. Presumably it will be wound up and the focus will be entirely on Rallycross for the foreseeable future..

  9. rissas dad

    October 4, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    “Get recked americans and your stupid commemts you made all summer about the downfall of the greatest series ever aka WEC.”

    …this gleefully posted in the Ginetta post from the other day…yeah

    • Carefull with that Eugene, Axe.

      October 4, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      Yeah, and it’s 100% right.

    • GR88

      October 4, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Any Peugeot entry was at least 2 yrs off. The latest LMP1 news is increased privateer interest. More Ginetta customers are expected, the Dalkara SMP has hit the track, and Oreca will offer an LMP1 for the 18/19 season.

  10. Carefull with that Eugene, Axe.

    October 4, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Came here to see all that american genius brag about how they are right and the rest of the world is wrong. Not disappointed.

    • Justin Porter

      October 4, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      There have been any number of points at which the WEC could have succeeded.

      Initially, we saw that a balancing act between the Audi R18 E-Tron and Toyota TSO30 hybrid duo and the HPD ARX03/Rebellion Lolas was POSSIBLE. It was the instant that the ACO made LMP1 into two different categories (LMP1-H/LMP1-L) that it became clear that they were unwilling to listen to their competitors in favor of their own agenda.

      Had the Nissan/Renault conglomerate NOT spent their money so poorly on their LMP1-H project, having a third manufacturer in play would have been incredible leverage during VAG’s legal issues. No blame can be placed upon the ACO aside from that insisting upon the LMP1-H category effectively barred interest from smaller boutique manufacturers whom still bring eyeballs and legitimacy to the championship.

      Lotus, Morgan, Ginetta, Alpine… these are brands with notable “garagista” clout and their participation is as recognizable to sports car aficionados as Corvette or Porsche. Look down the roster of past winners to see names like Mirage, Rondeau, and Matra. Disallowing repeats of the great David v Goliath matches of yore was a snub to the history of the race, the European motorsports industry, and the intelligence of fans worldwide.

  11. Michael Sørensen

    October 4, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Just show that the lectric technology is not ripe for long durations…. Opting for Formula E on gravel…. ver apt

    • TF110

      October 4, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Hybrid is no longer a requirement for lmp1. If you frequent this site you will find that story.

  12. vanillachinchilla

    October 4, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    If i were them I’d put an LMP1-L on the grid and try and steal a Le Mans victory or 2!

  13. JaymondoGB

    October 5, 2017 at 7:41 am

    The French, what do you expect. Sad news.

  14. Richard Reeves

    October 6, 2017 at 9:38 am

    It seems to me everyone is missing the main point here…The WEC is now being forced to step back from its goal of road-relevant technology (hybrids, electric). IMSA doesn’t have this problem because they never have bothered. How many manufacturers have to abandon a series in favor of Formula E, rallying, F1 (?), etc before the sports car hierarchy realizes they’re embracing series based on running ICE dinosaurs…?

    This is the equivalent of a conservative political party embracing Bible-based “fact” over empirical science. But we all know what will never happen…Right?

    • KW

      October 8, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Right.

    • KW

      October 8, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      And you forgot to mention one point which is also not in all the statements above: As long as the World Endurance Championship of motorracing is governed by a very much one-nation-oriented organization (ACO) instead of an international organization, it will never be successful as a true world championship in the long run.

  15. Blue Oval fan

    October 8, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Funny, I just returned from Road Atlanta’s Petit, walking around the paddock, the manufacturer involvement there was very hard to miss!

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