The French automaker is returning to Le Mans - could it spawn a new road-going hypercar?
A new era of motorsport is about to begin with the debut of the new hypercar class in the World Endurance Championship, which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For the 2020-2021 championship, new rules and regulations will allow manufacturers to enter prototype race cars that closely resemble their production car counterparts.
Aston Martin, for example, will enter a race car based on the Valkyrie hypercar, while Toyota is developing a race car based on the GR Super Sport Concept that debuted at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon. Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus also wants to be the first US manufacturer to win Le Mans in 50 years with the retro-inspired 007 Hypercar Prototype.
Now, Peugeot has announced it's returning to endurance racing with a new hybrid hypercar that will compete in all nine rounds of the World Endurance Championship in 2022, culminating with the 24 Hours of Le Mans. No details of Peugeot's hybrid hypercar were revealed, but the French automaker will share more information about the project in early 2020. This will be the first time Peugeot has entered an endurance race since 2011. The French automaker last won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009 with the 908 HDi FAP LMP1 racer.
"I am very excited at the prospect of channelling the skills and passion of my team into this project. 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," said PSA Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot.
Peugeot Brand Director Jean-Philippe 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."
It isn't clear yet if Peugeot's racer will be a hypercar prototype or based on a road-going model. If Peugeot chooses the latter, class regulations require manufacturers to produce at least 20 road-legal versions. Since FCA has merged with Groupe PSA, this means a new Peugeot hypercar could potentially launch in the US. If so, we're hoping it will look like the Peugeot L750 R Hybrid Vision GT that was created for the Gran Turismo video game series.