Crash.Net Le Mans News
Peugeot ends 908 programme
18 January 2012
Peugeot has announced that it is to end its endurance racing programme with immediate effect.
The announcement, which comes on the day that entries for the FIA World Endurance Championship close, means there will be no factory Peugeot team in the new series and also means that the French manufacturer won't be represented in this summer's Le Mans 24 Hours.
Having debuted the 908 HDi FAP back in 2007, Peugeot emerged as the biggest challenger to Audi, with the two marque's becoming embroiled in a heated battle for supremacy in recent years.
While the 908 proved to be a quick machine, and often had the pace to beat Audi's R15 and R18 models, Peugeot only managed to beat its rival to victory at La Sarthe on one occasion - with David Brabham, Marc Gene and Alex Wurz beating Sebastien Bourdais, Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin in a 1-2 finish.
"After 14 victories in the last 16 races, the brand has decided to close its 2012 endurance programme and will not be taking part in the next Le Mans 24 Hours," a statement from Peugeot read. "This decision has been taken against the backdrop of the challenging economic environment in Europe coupled with a particularly busy year for the Brand in terms of new vehicle launches.
"In this context, Peugeot prefers to concentrate its 2012 resources on its commercial performance and, in particular, ensuring the successful launches of the 208, 3008 HYbrid4, 508 RXH, 508 HYbrid4 and 4008 which will take forward the brand's strategy of moving upmarket and extending its global presence."
The decision means Audi now seems set to be the only major manufacturer to field an LMP1 programme in the WEC this season, with Toyota's new car only slated to compete in selected races this season.
Porsche is working on an LMP1 programme although that isn't due to hit the track until 2014.