French automakers Peugeot decided that it was about time to clear out from the US racing industry. The car makers exit should not have been any cause for alarm, since the makers haven’t sold cars in the US for the last twenty years. But on the contrary, this bit of news has created quite a furor in the racing circuits. The car makers have shown no tell-tale signs for their second coming, leaving people to speculate that the French are leaving for good and have no intentions of laying any groundwork again in the coming years.
Though the automakers didn’t have any impact in US car industry but it did have a substantial role when it came to the racing circuit. This is the main reason why the racing industry is lamenting their exit. The Peugeot had taken the 1st and 3rd standings in the 2011 Sebring races and had been the reigning champions for quite some time. Their exit opens the door for Audi to clasp the unmatched supremacy it didn’t have as of yet.
Now the most common questions that leaps forth in a situation like this, are ‘what made the automakers close up shop?’ The current situation suggests that there couldn’t have been a single clear indicative reason for their exit, but a set of them. Amongst which, two are quite in the open. The Le-Mans style prototype racing comes second to no other (Except perhaps the Formula 1), when it comes to the economical aspect of things. With rapidly progressing technologies and need for regular upgrades to their systems and considering the risk involved, the car makers must have felt it wasn’t a lucrative investment anymore. Though the Peugeot parent company, the PSA Peugeot Citroen isn’t in a tight situation, but they feel it’s time to move on and make some cost cuts and lay off personnel and projects to be able to invest in newer ones. Moreover from here on end, the Peugeot team is to face stiffer competition. Back in 1999 the odds where in their favor since the BMW and Mercedes Benz left the Le Mans scene with new comer Audi their only threat. The odds are against Peugeot this time around, with Toyota and Porsche vying to make an entry into the Le Mans scene. As these cars are hybrid, updated with the needs of modern racing, it is going to create havoc on the Peugeot financially also to keep up their number one position.
This year will be the last time Peugeot hits the Le Mans racing circuit and all eyes are on them, to see if they can reclaim the title, from Audi, who had won it in 2011 despite the much televised two car crashes in the tournament.
It’s highly unlikely that Peugeot will return to the Les Mans racing circuit, but if it does, it must be through some privately sponsored teams. But even that doesn’t seem to be in the picture, anywhere in the near future. As for now, Peugeot bids farewell to the racing arena.