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Peugeot delays WEC return until after Le Mans 24 Hours

Peugeot has announced it will delay its entry into the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship with its new Hypercar until after the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The French manufacturer has taken the decision on the grounds that it needs more time to fix the specification of its radical 9X8 challenger for homologation.

It had been stipulated that Peugeot would have to tackle at least one WEC round at either Sebring or Spa prior to Le Mans in order to be eligible to participate in June's blue riband race, with the former option having already been ruled out.

The earliest the 9X8 could make its race debut is now therefore the fourth round of the season at Monza on July 10.

Peugeot technical director Olivier Jansonnie explained the decision to postpone the car's competitive bow "will afford us the time we need to achieve the necessary level of reliability" before the car is effectively frozen by the homologation through 2025.

He added: "This way, our planning will enable us to put the full weight of our teams and resources behind our own test sessions, without the disruption of racing at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.

"Both operationally and from a reliability perspective, Le Mans is the most difficult race on the calendar. We will begin with some shorter races, which will allow us to progressively get up-to-speed in the championship.

"Like with our road-going cars when we have to choose between meeting a deadline or focussing on quality, we always prioritise quality."

 

Peugeot's statement did not specify exactly when the 9X8 will debut, but its declaration that the car will race "in the summer" suggests that the Monza round is being targeted. The following race takes place at Fuji Speedway in September before the WEC season wraps up in Bahrain in November.

It means that the French marque is set for its first assault on Le Mans since the end of its previous 908 LMP1 programme at the end of 2011 next year, at the same time as several other manufacturers that are building cars to Hypercar and LMDh rules, including Porsche, Ferrari and Audi.

This year, the top Hypercar class at Le Mans is set to comprise a maximum of five entries - two Toyota GR010 Hybrids, a pair of Glickenhaus 007 LMHs (if the American marque's second entry is accepted) and a solo Alpine A480 grandfathered LMP1.

A full entry list for this year's Le Mans 24 Hours is due to be released on Monday.

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