Peugeot: No rush to decide drivers for 2022 WEC return

Peugeot is in no hurry to pick its driver line-up for the marque's return to front-line sportscar racing in 2022, according to the motorsport boss of its parent company PSA

Peugeot: No rush to decide drivers for 2022 WEC return

Jean-Marc Finot explained that there is no need to rush because its new Le Mans Hypercar is not due to run for the first time until the end of next year ahead of its race debut over the course of the 2022 World Endurance Championship.

"There are a lot of drivers interested in this iconic Peugeot Sport programme and we are in touch with many of them," said Finot.

"I would just say that we have time because the car will not run until the end of 2021, so we will take our time to have the best team possible.

"We will chose our drivers for their performance, their team spirit and how they fit the Peugeot Sport mindset."

Finot did not respond when questioned on whether Romain Grosjean was one of those drivers after the outgoing Haas Formula 1 racer declared his interest in a Peugeot WEC seat in October.

Peugeot pushed back the first test of its LMH car from next summer as a result of the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

PLUS: Why COVID-19 didn't stop Peugeot's Le Mans commitment

The French marque insisted that it has yet to decide when the car will race the WEC over the course of 2022.

Olivier Jansonnie, director of the WEC programme at Peugeot Sport, said: "We are not close to making that decision; we are not even ready to decide internally on this.

"We have built a schedule that will allow us to test by the end of 2021 and from that point on we should know relatively quickly the level of reliability of the car.

"We don't want to take the risk of starting races before we achieve the right level of reliability."

Peugeot unveiled key technical details of the new LMH prototype on Monday, including the specification of its internal combustion engine.

Its press statement did not reveal the vee angle of the 2.6-litre twin-turbo V6 and director of powertrain development at Peugeot Sport, Francois Coudrain explained that Peugeot was not ready to communicate this.

"We don't want to give too much detail in terms of the organic design," he said.

Coudrain confirmed, however, that the powertrain will be a bespoke racing engine developed in-house at Peugeot Sport.

The engine is scheduled to run on the dyno for the first time in the spring and will then begin running in conjunction with the LMH Peugeot's electric motor generator unit on a four-wheel-drive test bench early in the summer.

The complete powertrain has been called the Peugeot Hybrid4 500kW in reference to its total power output, which equates to 680bhp.

Peugeot has yet to announce a name for the car, but hinted that it could follow the nomenclature of the Le Mans-winning 905 and 908 Group C and LMP1 prototypes.

"Starting with a nine seems to be a good idea, but we will be back at the start of 2022 to be more precise," said Finot.

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Series WEC
Author Gary Watkins
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