Peugeot has announced it will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship’s top class beginning in 2022 with a hybrid-powered hypercar.
The French manufacturer, which has been absent from top-level endurance racing since the demise of its 908 LMP1 program in early 2012, has confirmed its return to sports car racing in a brief statement released on Wednesday.
Further details will be announced in “early 2020” although it’s believed the program could be in collaboration with ORECA, as previously reported by Sportscar365.
“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, fueled by their long experience of topflight FIA championships and hunger for success.”
The “significant cost savings” in the WEC’s Hypercar regulations and confirmation the championship will utilize hybrid powertrains led the Groupe PSA Executive Committee to approve Peugeot Brand’s proposal.
“The Peugeot brand’s passion for motorsport has always played a core role in achieving the many victories we have scored in our history,” said Peugeot Brand Director Jean-Philippe Imparato.
“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.”
It’s unclear if the program will make its debut in the 2022 calendar year, or rather the 2022-23 WEC season, which would be the third season under the FIA and ACO’s Hypercar regulations.
Nevertheless, it comes as a signifiant boost to the platform, which so far only sees Toyota and Aston Martin as confirmed OEMs, alongside projects from Glickenhaus and ByKolles that are all due to debut for next year’s launch season.
Peugeot contested Le Mans from 2007-11 with its diesel-powered 908s prior to withdrawing just months prior to its planned WEC effort in 2012 with a hybrid version of the car due to a company-wide financial crisis.
It had considered a return to LMP1 racing in 2017 although elected to contest the World Rallycross Championship instead, which had proposed a move to electric vehicles that did not fully materialize.
The French brand ended its WRX involvement last year, alongside its successful Dakar Rally program.