If you look at the current climate of the World Endurance Championship, there's only one brand that's hung around in the top class. That would be Toyota, who won Le Mans twice uncontested. But that could change in the near future with more manufacturers expressing interest in the series.
Thanks to new rules and regulations, the top class of endurance racing sees the new 'hypercar' regulations which cost much less to build and develop than the current prototypes. Because of that, Peugeot wants to have another crack at the series.
Yes, Peugeot wants to get back into the series, and they're planning to get there by 2022.
Peugeot has had a lot of success in Le Mans and the series. They won the World Sports Car Championship (the precursor of the World Endurance Championship) twice, three Le Mans series titles and the Le Mans 24 hours three times. They saw success in La Sarthe in 1992, 1993, and 2009. Unfortunately, they left endurance racing in 2011.
So this announcement does come as a bit of a surprise, especially now that Peugeot has a 50:50 stake with Fiat Chrysler. Perhaps the 'hypercar' rules has made it feasible for them to enter top-flight motorsport again. The new regulations have limited the use of exotic materials, restricted to just 25 engines per year, and the sizes of the cars themselves are mostly set. At the same time, manufacturers will be required to build a road-going version of their race cars.
Peugeot has made it clear that they want to compete in the top class and not in the GTE class of cars which are mostly based on production models. So far, the French automaker hasn't mentioned anything about what car they will be using for their return to endurance racing, but they did say that they will be keeping the motorsports community posted in the coming years.
At the moment, it's only Toyota and Aston Martin who have committed to the next-generation of endurance racers in the championship. Peugeot's confirmation is a shot in the arm for the series, and we hope to see more automakers join in.