Peugeot is the third OEM to put its hand up for the new, so-called hypercar class in the World Endurance Championship, after Aston Martin and Toyota. The French manufacturer last competed at La Sarthe from 2007 to 2011 with its diesel-powered 908 HDi FAP, beating Audi in 2009. It quit the sport in 2012 to deal with dire financial issues, parking its brand new 908 HYbrid 4 LMP1 car (pictured) on the eve of the season opener. The announcement by parent company PSA Group put the return in 2022, giving it an even decade out of the sport before coming back with a racer that might make more waves on the street than on the track. Homologation rules require class entrants to build and sell 20 production versions of the race car, and Peugeot hasn't built a production supercar in, well, ever.
We're not sure how much building it'll be doing here, either. Even though Peugeot Sport will play a key role in this effort, Sportscar365 reported in October that the French carmaker was looking at a "customer-based hypercar built by ORECA and run by Rebellion Racing." Oreca and Rebellion are LMP-category stalwarts with OEM experience; the 47-year-old French team Oreca ran Toyota's TS030 Hybrid in 2012 and has designed Rebellion's cars, while the nine-year-old Swiss Rebellion team ran Toyota engines in its LMP car for the first four years of its existence. It's possible the future Le Mans runner will campaign will be a technical partnership between the three outfits, a "semi-works effort run under the Rebellion banner." Furthermore, the collaboration could start with Peugeot-branded engines supplied to the Rebellion R13 LMP1 car grandfathered into the series's inaugural season that begins next summer.
As for Peugeot's official debut, it's not clear if the 2022 date means the first WEC race in the calendar year, or the 2022-2023 WEC season. The endurance racing calendar starts in September and overlaps calendar years. The 2019 season commenced in September, the first race in 2022 will be the fifth round of the current season. Peugeot promises more details in early 2020.
For the moment, Glickenhaus and ByKolles —run by former Formula One team boss Colin Kolles — are the other two manufacturers planning to compete at the top level in the new class in 2020. Porsche and McLaren have made noises about it but nothing's come of it yet, and Lamborghini said in August that it's looking closely at the regulations to gauge an entry.
Proud to announce our participation in the world’s premier endurance racing championship WEC from 2022 with a Hybrid Power Hypercar. Stay tuned, more to come at the beginning of 2020! @peugeotsport pic.twitter.com/u3KqDkKA0G— Peugeot (@Peugeot) November 13, 2019