40 years of Peugeot Sport

CREATED in Oct 1981 and originally called Peugeot Talbot Sport, Peugeot Sport has been competing successfully in motorsport’s top-flight championships and competitions across the globe for four decades.

During the time, the French brand has proved a pioneering force in racing and rallying alike, with some of the sport’s most iconic cars in the hands of exceptional drivers.

Since its victory in the world’s first-ever timed event, the 1895 Paris-Bordeaux-Paris road race, the brand has used motorsport to take its technology forward.

Today, its Hypercar programme in the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) with the recently-revealed Peugeot 9X8 sees it begin a fifth decade on the world stage, with the aim of adding another glorious chapter to a sporting adventure that has long embodied its “quest for excellence and shared emotions”.

The company says statistics can be little more than symbolic at times, “but there is no escaping the fact that Peugeot Sport has harvested many more resounding victories than the number of years that have passed since its creation in October 1981, forging a record that speaks volumes for the team’s ongoing quality and judicious sporting strategy.”

“Motorsport provides the automobile industry with an exceptional technology laboratory for the acceleration of research and progress,” says Peugeot CEO Linda Jackson.

“For our brand, it plays an essential part in the rollout of our models and our plans for tomorrow’s mobility. Not only have Peugeot Sport’s 40 years in motorsport reaped a long list of wins and titles, but they have also been a source of real pride. It is this heritage that guides us and above all, serves as a springboard for further conquests, both today and in the future.”

Created by motorsports personality Jean Todt (as Peugeot Talbot Sport), Peugeot Sport has produced numerous iconic cars, including the memorable 205 T16, 405 T16, 206 WRC, 306 Maxi and 905, followed more recently by the 908, 208 T16 Pikes Peak, 2008 DKR, 3008 DKR, 208 WRX and now, the revolutionary 9X8 which is poised to play a core role in Peugeot’s electrification plan, while at the same time embodying the close ties between the brand’s sporting arm and design team.

Over the past 40 years, the men and women at Peugeot Sport have risen successfully to the challenge of so many legendary events at both world and national level and it is their passion and professionalism – two fundamental values – that continue to inspire the current team.

Looking back over the decades inevitably conjures up images of Peugeot Sport on its way to claiming titles and triumphs in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and World Rallycross Championship (World RX), on the famous Dakar Rally, in the Le Mans 24 Hours and at the Pikes Peak “Race to the Clouds” International Hill Climb, as well as in circuit racing in France and elsewhere, plus Formula 1 podiums as engine supplier, etc.

Peugeot Sport’s chief motorsport achievements since 1981 include:

- Five WRC manufacturers’ titles in 1985, 1986, 2000, 2001 and 2002

- Four WRC drivers’ crowns, with Timo Salonen, Juha Kankkunen and Marcus Gronholm (twice)

- Three Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles (2007, 2008 and 2009)

- A long list of national rally titles

- Three Le Mans 24 Hours wins, in 1992 (with Yannick Dalmas/Derek Warwick/Mark Blundell), 1993 (Christophe Bouchut/Eric Helary/Geoff Brabham ) and 2009 (Marc Gene/David Brabham /Alex Wurz)

- Three Pikes Peak Hill Climb victories, in 1988 (with Ari Vatanen), 1989 (Robby Unser) and 2013 (Sebastien Loeb)

- Super Touring titles, including the 1997 German Super Tourenwagen Cup crown with the 406 (Laurent Aiello)

- Seven Dakar wins, in 1987, 1989 and 1990 (with Ari Vatanen), 1988 (Juha Kankkunen), 2016 and 2017 (Stephane Peterhansel) and 2018 (Carlos Sainz)

- One World RX title (2015).

Over the years, the different champions who have driven these cars – many of which have left an indelible mark on their respective eras and disciplines – have been able to count on Peugeot Sport’s meticulous, conscientious, combative and innovative team members who, along with the managers who have led its successive campaigns, have flown the brand’s colours high and proud.

The hunger for victory of past directors like Todt, Corrado Provera, Jean-Pierre Nicolas and Bruno Famin has been driven consistently by a determination to bring everyone together, innovate, inspire and move forward.

With motorsport so embedded in the French carmaker’s DNA, all Peugeot Sport’s programmes have been geared to backing Peugeot’s particular vision or technological strategy in areas ranging from safety and performance, to new forms of energy, efficiency, electronics and driver aids.

Today, electrification is at the heart of Peugeot Sport’s Hypercar programme with the 9X8 in the Le Mans 24 Hours and FIA WEC and symbolises the stakes of Peugeot’s plans for tomorrow’s mobility, while contributing to its research efforts as the drivers put new ideas through their paces for the benefit of everyday motorists in a virtuous racetrack-to-street cycle.

This month, Peugeot Sport is celebrating its 40th anniversary which, although an important landmark, is just a step along the long road ahead of further enriching breakthroughs, experience and adventures.

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