Peugeot to return to Le Mans after decade-long absence

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Peugeot Sport announced Friday that it will return to top-tier motorsports in collaboration with works team Total, fielding a new Le Mans Hypercar Prototype in 2022. The announcement came in the lead-up to the 88th running of the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will be held this weekend after being postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic. 

“Le Mans is the holy grail of the automobile world,” said Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato in the company’s announcement. “It is the race who determines its winner. For us, this represents 3 victories but also the endless sweat, tears and joy and an incredible team spirit with TOTAL, with whom we celebrate this year, 25 years of collaboration.”

The announcement was accompanied by a video titled “Back to Le Mans,” which you can check out below. Take note, it’s in French but contains English subtitles.  

Peugeot shared renderings of its LMH Prototype concept sporting a simple black livery with bright green highlights, which is a pretty big departure from the last Hypercar concept we saw from the French automaker. The hybrid-electric hypercar will produce 670 horsepower, Peugeot says, and be all-wheel drive, conforming with the rules for the new unified Hypercar endurance racing classes. 

This means a maximum output of 500 kW (670.5 horsepower, down from 750 hp first set for the Hypercar class) and a minimum weight of 1,030 kilograms (2,271 pounds), down from 1,100 kg (2,425 pounds). With that established, LMDh and LMH cars would still need to run together in order to establish the beginning of a Balance of Performance formula. In a nod to WEC, competitors in Hypercar must build at least 20 road cars based on their prototypes within two years of joining the series.

While this year may have been a bumpy one for motorsports, the return of legendary participants such as Peugeot and Renault suggest that there’s plenty of life left in endurance racing. 

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Saurabh Shukla

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