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Peugeot announces exit from Le Mans

  1. It’s a miserable day for motorsport - Peugeot’s announced that it’ll end its endurance racing program, sidestepping this year’s wondrous Le Mans 24 hour race for financial reasons.

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, Peugeot said: “This decision has been taken in the context of a difficult economic environment in Europe. Peugeot has chosen to concentrate resources on its sales performance in 2012.”

  2. Which begs the question - will main rivals and fellow dieselists, Audi, bother to turn up? Its motorsports spokesman refused to comment on the company’s 2012 entry, but did say: “We’re sad with the news - Audi’s had some great duels with Peugeot. Our plans will be announced on February 2 - I would hope we will [turn up].”

    So, if Audi does make it to La Sarthe, which manufacturers are going to make life interesting in the fastest-in-field LMP1 class? It’s not looking good… Toyota’s in the throes of developing its 2012 LMP1 program, though it’s not competing in the whole campaign. Then there’s Porsche, which is planning a return to the 24-hour race. But it won’t have its car ready until 2014. Oh dear.

    Until we hear what Audi’s cooking up, click on for a look back at the legendary racers from the French company.

  3. This is a brace of Peugeot 905s readying themselves for the 1991 24 Heures du Mans. Neither of the two cars entered made it past the four-hour mark.

  4. The tweaked 1992 905B was one of just two factory teams involved in the 24-hour race - one was Peugeot, the other Toyota.

  5. Peugeot drivers managed to bring home two of the team’s three cars in 1st and 3rd places.

  6. It’s the year 2000, and this petrol-powered V6 Pug-engined Pescarolo Sport landed on La Sarthe.

    It finished fourth overall, driven by Olivier Grouillard, Sebastien Bourdais and Emmanuel Clerico.

  7. Le Mans veteran, Henry Pescarolo, set up a team after his retirement as a driver. For 2001 he brought a tweaked version of the Courage C60 which raced in the previous year. The Peugeot engine was based on their roadgoing V6 engine but tuned by the boffins at Sodemo.

  8. One of the two cars entered made it to the finish in 13th place. The second car suffered from an engine failure in the closing stages of the race.

  9. After a poor finish in 2001, Pescarolo wanted to get closer to the podium in 2002. He tweaked the C60 with more aero bits to improve the cars performance on the long straights surrounding Le Mans.

  10. One car didn’t finish, while the other finished tenth but was a massive 14 seconds a lap slower than the dominant Audis.

  11. In 2003 Audi terminated factory support for the privately entered R8s which meant there was a chance for Peugeot and Pescarolo Sport to improve on their 2002 performance.

  12. Once again the battle against the air was the main concern. Slightly different wings and fenders were fitted to the car but the thing that was most noticed was the new livery. The new clothes seemed to work as Peugeot finished 7th, 8th and 9th.

  13. 2007 was the start of a new era in endurance racing and Peugeot’s first factory team race since 1993 . Both Audi and Peugeot brought cars that drank from the black pump and they were quick. Really quick. But eerily silent.

    The 5.5 litre V12 twin-turbo, mid-engined, longitudinally mounted diesel engine once again made Peugeot competitive. And in 2009 the 908 took them to their first win at Le Mans in 16 years.

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