When Peugeot announced in November last year that it would return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2022, the world was a very different place than it is today. The coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic turmoil gave Peugeot the perfect excuse to back out but instead the French manufacturer has doubled down on its endurance commitment with a full-blown Le Mans Hypercar.
Back when Peugeot decided to pull the plug on its successful LMP1 programme at the end of 2011, its departure sent shockwaves through the endurance racing world. At the dawn of the new-for-2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, the series was left without one of its two major manufacturers in the top class, forcing Toyota to bring forward its prototype plans to take on Audi.
Peugeot had only returned to the Le Mans 24 Hours four years earlier, in 2007, trying to build on its success from the early nineties when it won back to back editions of Le Mans with the 905 as well as the 1992 world sportscar title. With the spectacular 908 HDi FAP prototype, powered by a twin-turbo V12 diesel engine, Peugeot did just that, but must have felt that it could have achieved more than just the sole Le Mans win in 2009 (below), having run Audi close on several occasions.