Motorsport has always been a way for automotive manufacturers to show off their engineering capabilities and to demonstrate their car’s reliability. Peugeot is no stranger to Motorsport, and have been one of the first to be involved in Motorsport. Peugeot entered what was considered to be the world’s first motor race, Paris-rouen. Although Peugeot did not finish first, they were the official winner of the race as cars were judged on their speed, handling and safety characteristics.
In peugeot’s long history of Motorsport, the first major title for Peugoet where it made its name would be in 1912 when it won the French Grand Prix and again in the following year. The car that was used was powered by a straight-4 engine designed by Ernest Henry. The design was very influential for racing engines as it featured for the first time DOHC and four valves per cylinder providing for high engine speeds, a radical departure from previous racing engines which relied on huge displacement for power.
In the Rallying world, Peugeot has also been successful. In 1963, Nick Nowicki and Paddy Cliff won the East African Safari with a 404 and in 1975 and 1978, Peugeot won the Safari Rally both with a 504.
Peugeot also had great achievement in international rallying. The Peugeot sport (formerly Peugeot Talbot Sport) was formed after Jean Todt, a co-driver for Guy Fréquelin was asked to create a sporting department for PSA Peugeot Citroën group. With their turbo charged 205, they won the title in 1985 and 1986. They departed from rally and switched to rally raids the following year, but made a successful return to rally in 1999 with their 206 and won the 2000 Swedish Rally, along with the manufacturer’s title in their first year return which they successfully defended the following year. The 307 replaced the 206 in 2004, but it failed to match the success of its predecessor. Peugeot decided to withdraw from WRC after 2005 and have not re-entered since.
Other Motorsport participation for Peugeot included touring car and sports car racing. Both entered in the 90s, the 406 saloon enjoyed success in France, Germany and Australia in the touring car championship, but struggled to win in the British Touring Car Championship.
A prototype model called the 905 was entered into the World Sportscar Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The 905 was successful in WSC, winning 8 of the 14 races and winning the team and driver titles in 1992. They also won 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1992 and 1993. Peugeot retired from sports car racing and made a return in 2007 with a diesel powered 908. 908 showed early promises in WSC but ultimately lost to Audi dued to unreliability, and again in 2008. The 908 performed much better for the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished first and second over.
Although Peugeot never participated, they provided engines to Formula 1 teams, notably to Mclaren in 1994, Jordan in 95-97 and to Prost from 98-2000. Peugeot have not had any involvement with F1 since.
Peugeot has definitely made impressive achievements within Motorsport but as of right now, they are only involved with one-make racing, with the RCZ and 208, and super 2000. It’s difficult to suggest what Motorsport they should re-enter, as Peugeot have had good reputation in many of them.
As Citroën are currently participating in WRC, and are well on form with their performance, I don’t think Peugeot will be re-entering WRC. With the current finical struggle Peugeot is having, I don’t think it would be wise for them to invest in developing new cars for Sports car racing and especially not for Formula 1. As Peugeot is not a big name in America, it would be pointless entering NASCAR.
I think if Peugeot were to enter international racing again, World Touring Car Championship would be the best option. It would be a simple transition from Super 2000, and it can demonstrate their vehicle’s durability. I also think the RCZ should be the vehicle entering WTCC, as it is the sports car of Peugeot, and getting more media attention will improve sales with the vehicle.