Peugeot will return to Le Mans with a new hypercar in 2022
Peugeot pulled out of Le Mans endurance racing after the 2011 season, despite having a pretty tasty hybrid race car ready to roll in the 908 Hybrid 4. Financial difficulties on the back of a bad year of street car sales put a bullet in the race program, and the French company was forced to pull out of the best-known motorsport event in France.
It would take more than a decade, as it turned out, to get Peugeot back in the game, but the new Le Mans Hypercar class, with its focus on controlled costs and a high degree of design freedom, has tempted the company back. At this year's event, Pegueot has revealed design sketches for its 2022 hypercar.
This will not be a street car; the Hypercar class allows for and encourages modified street hypercars like the Aston Martin Valkyrie, but also provides rules under which prototypes can compete, and that's the plan for Peugeot.
Like the 908 Hybrid 4, this will be a hybrid race car making the WEC-mandated 500 kW (670 horsepower) with a combination of a combustion engine and a set of electric motors driving the front wheels. The electric contribution will be no more than 200 kW (268 hp). It's being developed in conjunction with long-tie racing partner Total.
"To this date, we have confirmed part of the aerodynamic concept, the engine framework has been decided and we have chosen the functionality of the hybrid system and its fundamental design," says Olivier Jansonnie, Technical Director of Peugeot Sport's WEC program. "We still have several steps left before our debut in endurance in 2022, in studies, the production of prototypes and finally, affirmation on the bench and on the track."
As such, little more detail is available other than these preliminary design sketches, which show a few of the key visual concepts the car will run – notably, the triple-slash headlight and taillight designs that mimic the Peugeot Sport logo.
So who's committed to race Hypercars so far? Well, Aston was in early with the Valkyrie, but has pulled out for the moment. This year's LMP1 champion Toyota is in, with a machine that'll end up being the fastest and most expensive street car ever produced out of Japan. Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is frothing at the bit waiting to race its sweet-looking SCG007. ByKolles is putting something together for 2021, which will also roll as a street car and a customer track car, and Alpine is grandfathering in a Rebellion R-13 car from the soon-to-be-defunct LMP1 class.
At this point, then, there's no Ferrari, no Lamborghini, no McLaren, no Audi, no Porsche and no Ford, although all these companies and others are certainly aware and potentially interested. There's every chance the new regulations, which aim to keep costs down to around a quarter of what the LMP1 class cost, will draw more of them into the fold in the coming years.
We sure hope we get to see a field of adolescent dream cars throwing down and setting bench racing debates the only way that counts. Check out a video from a clearly excited Peugeot team below.
Source: Peugeot Sport
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