Confirmation that Peugeot will enter the World Endurance Championship's hypercar class comes as welcome respite after news of Alfa's stillborn performance cars. While the Italian brand has lost its GTV and 8C in cost-cutting changes ahead of a possible merger, it seems Peugeot has secured funding for a multimillion-pound entry into the world's top sports car category. PSA execs are convinced the class's hybrid powertrain regs suit the French marque's ambitions - which, most interestingly for us, include the launch of new, "high-performance products".
The story seems a little familiar. Last time Peugeot raced in Le Mans' top class, it depolyed the diesel V12-powered 908 HDi FAP prototype - back in the days when fast oil burners were still a thing it was interested in. The firm's motorsport arm did pretty well too, with three international titles and a win at Le Mans in 2009. So it's fair to assume Peugeot's future entry won't just be there to make up the numbers, with Toyota, Aston and potentially even Lamborghini set to compete.
As to what'll it contest against those marque's machines, we're a long way off from knowing. Although given the lack of a relevant base model in Peugeot's present line-up, the smart money is on the creation of an entirely new platform, rather than, say, it being based on a lowered and stretched-out 508. But that's not to say it won't look like Peugeot's saloon, with brand director Jean-Philippe Imparato actually hinting that the it would, since the racer is "foreshadowed by the Concept 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered". Should be quite the looker, then.
Even more interesting, Imparato added that the racing programme's "initiatives are completely in tune with Peugeot's 'Motion and E-motion' brand signature", suggesting its efforts will help fuel development of proper performance models to sit atop of Peugeot's future hybrid and electric models. Quite the contrast to what looks to be unfolding at Alfa Romeo, where volume sellers are to take precedence - at least in the short term - over shiny new halos.
"I am very excited at the prospect of channelling the skills and passion of my team into this project," PSA Motorsport director, Jean-Marc Finot, said of the Peugeot announcement. "It is a new challenge and I know our experts will rise to it with another demonstration of their will to win with teams financed by the Group's brands, fuelled by their long experience of topflight FIA championships and hunger for success."