By next year, there will only be two teams competing in the LMP1 class in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), namely Porsche, the defending constructors champions, and Toyota. However, it has been reported by a WEC insider that officials are urging Peugeot to return to the series.
Speaking to Automotive News Europe, the insider said that Peugeot has been asked to rejoin to fill the void left by Audi who left WEC by the end of the 2016 season. Peugeot has been involved in endurance and prototype racing in the past. In 1991, the marque was runner up in the World Sportscar Championship. In the following year, Peugeot won Le Mans, as well as the constructor's title. Peugeot followed up their dominant performance in 1992 by winning Le Mans in 1993. Most recently, Peugeot re-entered endurance racing in 2007, winning Le Mans in 2009 before pulling out in 2012.
“There is a lot of lobbying going on to convince Peugeot to return to Le Mans racing, and the word is it is thinking about investing 80 to 90 million euros. But if that's the case, I don't think it would be enough. You need closer to 150 million euros, half of which is for the personnel alone, to really be competitive,” said the insider.
Peugeot was forced to drop the endurance racing program after it had faced difficult financial times at the wake of the economic crisis. Under the direction of CEO Carlos Tavares , the PSA Group has been able to lift Peugeot and Citroen up and Tavares also known to have a keen interest in motorsports. Last year, he told Automotive News that, “Persistent participation in motorsports is also a tool to create brand value on a long-term basis”.
At the moment, Peugeot is putting its efforts in the Dakar Rally and a spokesperson and said that they are committed to the said series. However, the spokesperson added that a return to endurance racing is possible if “there were three conditions met”. “For sure Peugeot has a great passion for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the endurance series,” said the representative.
Source: Automotive News Europe