Peugeot signalled the expansion of their high-level motor sports activities atthe Paris Motor Show last week with the unveiling of their 908 Le Mans racer. Like the Audi R10 that dominated this year’s race, Peugeot’s car features a V12 turbo diesel engine.
The French team won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1992 and 1993 with Jean Todt at the helm, who is now in charge at Ferrari. After winning those two races the team switched to F1 with McLaren in 1994.
After one year with McLaren they formed a promising partnership with Jordan, but turned their backs on that in 1998 to create an all-French outfit at Prost (formerly Ligier). The marriage proved disastrous – the Peugeot mechanics even went on strike at one French Grand Prix.
Peugeot left the sport at the end of 2000 having scored no points in their final year with Prost. The switch to Le Mans shows that they are again willing to commit to motor sport as a means of raising their brand profile. But are the willing to take on the big boys, including successful arch-rivals Renault?