Peugeot has made the shock announcement that it will cease its endurance racing programme with immediate effect.
Having spent its time as Audi’s main rival in sports car racing since 2007, the carmaker has pulled the pin on its sports car racing efforts, citing the uncertain economic climate in Europe and poor global sales for the group.
“This decision has been taken in the context of a difficult economic environment in Europe,” a statement from the manufacturer reads.
“Peugeot has chosen to concentrate resources on its sales performance in 2012.”
The French outfit shot to prominence with successes in its diesel 908 prototype, claiming an emphatic victory in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours, while winning last year’s Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in its final guise before the series morphs into the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012.
The news will be a major blow for the WEC, which had billed itself for a season-long stoush with Audi.
But the announcement now means that Audi will lead a one-horse race in the frontline LMP1 class, as returning car-maker Toyota is only set to contest a part-season campaign.
It’s also bad news for a host of former F1 pilots who were part of Peugeot’s Le Mans programme, including Anthony Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin, Marc Gene, Sebastien Bourdais and Franck Montagny.
[Image via LAT]