Peugeot to return to Le Mans?

Published: 21 July 2017

► PSA motorsport boss mulls WEC entry
► Peugeot last won the race in 2009
► Cost-cutting regs could tempt return

Peugeot hasn’t raced at Le Mans since 2011, but PSA motorsport boss Jean-Marc Finot says the company is weighing up a return to the World Endurance Championship and its 24hr centerpiece race.

One of the few teams to break Audi’s modern-era stranglehold on the Le Mans 24hr race, Peugeot won the event in 2009. A return might prove too tempting – Finot’s keeping a close eye on the 2020 World Endurance Championship regulations being developing by the FIA and ACO. 

‘The FIA and ACO have made a lot of efforts to decrease cost with the new regulations, while still keeping the battery electric technology and plug-in fast charging that will come to road cars in the next few years,’ says Finot, who is in charge of both Peugeot and Citroen’s factory motorsport programmes.  

Peugeot Le Mans

‘There’s a proposal for an almost standard flat underfloor without any parts in the wheelarches, with only one aerodynamic configuration allowed [so no low-downforce Le Mans specials but a shape that must work throughout the WEC calendar], and a limit on wind tunnel time and tests days.

‘The costs are going down, but we think there is a possibility for more standardization of parts, as in Formula E – from a spectator point of view I don’t think it’s important that the cells of a battery are different for each manufacturer. We have to find the best balance between the spectacle and cost. The new regulations come in 2020 but it’s not a hurry for us – we must examine the cost and examine whether it’s a clever investment.’

Peugeot Dakar

Currently, Peugeot’s factory motorsport might is concentrated on long-distance rallying. Wherever Finot takes his teams, he’s adamant each must compete for a world championship, but never against each other, so Citroën has WRC, DS is in Formula E, and Peugeot competes in the Dakar and Silk Way rally – and given that’s just two headline events each year, Rally Raid too.

‘It would be interesting for us to be back in the WEC. We left five years ago; the PSA Group was unprofitable, it had been done, and we wanted to win the Dakar– but we’ve now won that twice…’