2nd february 2012
Peugeot was expected to launch its 908 Hybrid4 in the World Endurance Championship, but the French manufacturer announced its withdrawal from endurance racing on 18th January, the deadline for entries!
The announcement that Olivier Quesnel was continuing as Peugeot Sport team principal on 8th January and the end-of-January press conference seemed to dispel any doubts concerning Peugeot’s involvement in the WEC – until the Board of Directors made a U-turn at the very last moment! The French firm recalled the difficult economic context and said that it preferred “to concentrate its resources in 2012 on its commercial activities, in particular the successful launch of its new models whose aim is to boost its strategy aimed at upgrading its models and expanding their globalization.”
So the best endurance team in recent years was wiped out even if its personnel were offered jobs elsewhere. This brutal withdrawal was a body blow to the World Championship, which needed two manufacturers to be validated. Luckily, Toyota’s goodwill helped save the credibility of the WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Audi regretted the disappearance of its historic rival: “Audi Sport is very sad at losing a major rival in LM P1. We won’t forget the fierce battles we had with Peugeot. Bye-bye!” The ACO was also taken aback:”It’s a huge disappointment for the Le Mans 24 Hours and for the fledgling World Championship, a competition that was created at the behest of the manufacturers, especially Peugeot,” said Jean-Claude Plassart, the ACO President.
Peugeot has withdrawn after five seasons winning two ILMC titles, two in the Le Mans Series, 25 victories (including Oreca) and one in the Le Mans 24 Hours (2009).
Peugeot Sport held a final, symbolic run at Satory on 2nd February, the day the entries for the WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours were announced.
See the pictures of that day and our analysis in Le Mans Racing.
Text: François Hurel – Photo: DPPI
|Mise à jour le Lundi, 12 Mars 2012 19:58|