Peugeot has confirmed that it will return to Petit Le Mans in September as part of an entry into the inaugural International Le Mans Cup, which takes in three end-of-season sportscar endurance events around the globe.
The French manufacturer – which currently holds overall titles from Le Mans and Petit Le Mans in 2009, as well as this year's Sebring 12 Hours, with its 908 HDi FAP prototype – joins diesel rival Audi Sport and Drayson Racing as the first confirmed LMP1 entrants for the global championship.
In addition to serving as the second of three rounds in the International Le Mans Cup, the 13th annual Petit Le Mans is the season-finale for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. The 1000-mile classic is the American Le Mans Series' cornerstone event, and will take place between 29 September and 2 October this year.
Friday's announcement gave no clues as to the number of entries or which drivers will participate from the Peugeot camp. Anthony Davidson, Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz won the season-opening 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, while the sister Peugeot 908 of Sebastien Bourdais, Pedro Lamy and Nic Minassian finished 13.817secs adrift. Stephane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny led a Peugeot 1-2 finish last year at Petit Le Mans in a rain-soaked event.
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest. the governing body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. confirmed the launch of the 2010 International Le Mans Cup in March. It features three races on three continents, with an as yet unconfirmed Chinese event in November following on from the Silverstone 1000km and Petit Le Mans in the preceding months.
New for the international competition is the inclusion of a championship for GT2 manufacturers, to go alongside a similar title for LMP1. Also announced were the additions of team championships for all four ACO-sanctioned classes – LMP1, LMP2, GT1 and GT2. To be eligible for each of these three titles, entrants must take part in all three events counting for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, and in five races run under the Le Mans label, with the exception of the 24 Hours. Entries for this year's championship close 31 May.