PSA Peugeot Citroën has announced the French automaker will leave Le Mans racing indefinitely. Reuters reports the manufacturer cites financial issues as the reason for the drastic move, saying Peugeot will now focus its efforts on improving its sales performance in 2012. For its part, Peugeot has issued an official statement confirming the development on its motorsports site, which you can read after the jump.

Peugeot is currently Europe's second-largest vehicle manufacturer, though the company has suffered a string of thinning profit reports in recent months. Last year, Phillippe Varin, Peugeot's chief executive, announced a plan to save the company $1.03 billion in 2012 through a variety of tactics, including 6,000 job cuts. We now know the company's impressive Le Mans racing effort is a casualty of cost savings as well.

Of all the rivalries in motorsports, few have been as entertaining or heated as the one that blossomed between Peugeot and Audi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Peugeot swiped the crown from its German rivals in 2009 with its futuristic, diesel-powered 908 prototype, though Audi has won the legendary race seven out of the last eight years. That loss, however, forced Audi to abandon the open cockpit design of its R15 and earlier models in favor of a closed dome on the new R18.

Interestingly enough, Reuters reports Peugeot sister company Citroën won't turn its back on the World Rally Championship.

Show full PR text
Peugeot brings down the curtain on its endurance programme so as to ensure the success of its numerous launches in 2012

After 14 victories in the last 16 races, including a double at the Le Mans 24 Hours 2009 as part of the ILMC championship won by Peugeot two years running, in 2010 and 2011, the Brand has decided to close its 2012 endurance programme and will not be taking part in the next Le Mans 24 Hours.

This decision has been taken against the backdrop of the challenging economic environment in Europe coupled with a particularly busy year for the Brand in terms of new vehicle launches. In this context, Peugeot prefers to concentrate its 2012 resources on its commercial performance and, in particular, ensuring the successful launches of the 208, 3008 HYbrid4, 508 RXH, 508 HYbrid4 and 4008 which will take forward the Brand's strategy of moving upmarket and extending its global presence. In keeping with its social responsibility obligations and as part of the GPEC (forward management of jobs and skills) agreement signed by 5 trade unions, all of the employees concerned will be offered redeployment solutions within the Group thanks to a special system set up to oversee and lead occupational training/retraining as well as internal mobility.


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  • 38 Comments
      marspeed8
      • 3 Years Ago
      In a related story, Team Oreca will simply be known from now on as "La Resistance."
      Steven
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why does everyone automatically assume Toyota is going to be awesome they're first year out. I expect them to get trashed just like every other non-diesel car on the grid. Until the rules change it will always be like that.
        Tom Winch
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven
        I would expect Audi to dominate this year, but they've announced that the R18 will be their last LMP-1 car. With Porsche getting into LMP1 in 2013, hopefully we'll see some epic Toyota versus Porsche battles in the coming years.
        Kiiks
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven
        To be fair, you know Toyota "worked closely with the ACO" to have the new regulations suit their goals better. Their participation is proof. The 2012 regs were probably a compromise, and Toyota will probably not put up a domineering performance, but the ACO and FIA will be forced to (finally) reconcile the performance parity between diesel and petrol powered cars, which is good for the sport. Toyota's participation is undoubtedly contingent on that understanding.
      Dwight Bynum Jr.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "French automaker will leave Le Mans racing indefinitely" <- BLASPHEMY!
      xcatchmyshadowx
      • 3 Years Ago
      as an audi fan i have to say: damn shame! so many epic fights between peugeot and audi in recent years! sad sad sad!
      StephenT
      • 3 Years Ago
      Very sad news. I always enjoyed the Peugeot/Audi rivalry and loved watching them race at Road Atlanta every fall.
      kmrk
      • 3 Years Ago
      It truly is a shame that Peugeot is leaving as they have been an incredible competitor. Unfortunately, their racing pedigree did nothing to help them sell cars in the US. I had the pleasure of owning two 508 wagons in the 80's before they departed the US market and they were shockingly amazing cars in spite of their reputation.
      barkeep
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh man, I was rooting for these guys ever since Audi started winning everything. I was glad they won in 2009. Now, the next closest competitor to Audi is Toyota for this year. I seriously hope they can make a mark, because the rivalry between Peugeot and Audi has been very entertaining, very cut-throat, and very unique in the Le Mans world.
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      They must really be hurting. Their Lemans effort generated quite a bit of good vibes in Europe.
      SteveM
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is too bad - a real loss to the Le Mans Racing series.
      Krishan Mistry
      • 3 Years Ago
      RIP one of the most entertaining motorsport rivalries in recent time. Now who's going to stop the R18 massacre? Might as well be in a class of its own...LMPD (D for utter Domination). Pug will be missed.
      Krishan Mistry
      • 3 Years Ago
      Of course, there's bound to be private owned 908s to contine the battle, right?
        LEDfoot
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Krishan Mistry
        Well Oreca has been fielding the 4th Peugeot for a while and I would assume they will continue to do so. However without factory support and new development I'm guessing they aren't going to be competitive for very long. I guess too it depends on how many "spare" tubs Peugeot have sitting around since they seem to have a bit of a durability problem. Not sure how excited Oreca will be at throwing more money racing a platform that has no future.
      Bloody Knuckle
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's not April 1st, the French are doing it wrong. I'm not one for big intervening sanctioning bodies, but I think ILMS/ALMS should perhaps reconfigure the class so that there might be some competition.
        Sam
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bloody Knuckle
        Wait for Porsche and Aston Martin, as well as privateers that Peugeot sells their LMP1 chassis to.
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