Peugeot has (again) announced its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 2022 with the Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) project developed together with partner Total.
The French automaker will compete in the top tier LMH category, joining confirmed entries from Toyota, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, and ByKolles. Alpine also announced recently an entry into the LMP1 category for 2021, using an Oreca chassis and Gibson engine. Alpine’s racer will be balanced against the new Le Mans Hypercar entrants.
Back to Peugeot, the company says it has chosen the top LMH category for several reasons, one being that “of a certain aerodynamic freedom”. This makes it possible for the race car to incorporate the aesthetic detail of the brand, as seen in these preliminary sketches which feature Peugeot’s signature three claw and colors.
Another big reason is that the LMH category’s features and technologies are similar to those of the company’s production cars. Peugeot and Total have already started development of their electric hybrid hypercar which will boast 500 kW (671 HP / 680 PS) of power from an electric motor and a thermal engine.
According to regulations, Peugeot’s hypercar racer will be four-wheel drive, equipped with a front-mounted electric motor with a maximum power of 200 kW (268 HP / 272 PS). The remaining 300 kW (402 HP / 408 PS) will be supplied by an unspecified internal combustion engine driving the rear wheels. Compared to an LMP1 car, the LMH will be longer (5,000 mm / 196.8 in) and wider (2,000 mm / 78.7 in).
Having launched the various phases of studies for the general structure, the aerodynamic concept, and the choice of engine architecture, Peugeot still has to decide on the electrical framework and the conception of the hybrid traction chain. All of Peugeot Sport’s technical departments are involved in these development phases.
“Through this commitment, Peugeot is opening a new register, that of neo performance. We are coming back to endurance racing because we have the opportunity to work the sport in a different way, with the hybridization of gas and electricity,” said Jean Philippe Imparato, Peugeot brand CEO.
Interestingly, Peugeot made no mention of Rebellion, the Swiss racing team that was initially supposed to partner the French automaker in its LMH project.