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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peugeot ends Le Mans programme with immediate effect [video]

Peugeot has announced that it will end its endurance racing programme with immediate effect.

The French manufacturer had been Audi's main rival in sportscar racing, running the variants of its diesel 908 prototype in the Le Mans 24 Hours and associated series since 2007.

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

The decision to can the programme comes amid declining car sales for the Peugeot group, and will be a major blow to the formative WEC - which had been expected to see a season-long battle between Audi and Peugeot.

Toyota is embarking on a new LMP1 programme but will not contest a full campaign this year, while Porsche's new car will not hit the track until 2014.

Peugeot's Sport department has not been closed as part of today's announced changes and it is understood that the door has been left open to future racing programmes should funds once again become available in 2013.

Despite Peugeot carting a hybrid version of their 908 HDi FAP called the 'hy' around the show circuit as long ago as 2008 and the Peugeot 908 HYbrid4 having undergone its first track test at Estoril in October 2011, the Diesel Hybrid Sports Prototype may now go down in history as never having raced at Le Mans.

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