It’s a sad day for fans of the Peugeot Le Mans racing team as the French carmaker announced today it is pulling out from the endurance race series and will not be taking part in the next Le Mans 24 Hours. Now, if you’re wondering why the French company is abandoning the series after a successful run with 14 victories in the last 16 races, including a double at the Le Mans 24 Hours 2009 as part of the ILMC championship won by Peugeot two years in a row in 2010 and 2011, the answer is financial difficulties. Peugeot said that due to the economic downturn in Europe, it needs to allocate funds from its racing division to its production cars. “This decision has been taken against the backdrop of the challenging economic environment in Europe coupled with a particularly busy year for the Brand in terms of new vehicle launches,” Peugeot said in a statement. “In this context, Peugeot prefers to concentrate its 2012 resources on its commercial performance and, in particular, ensuring the successful launches of the 208, 3008 HYbrid4, 508 RXH, 508 HYbrid4 and 4008 which will take forward the Brand’s strategy of moving upmarket and extending its global presence,” the company added. Peugeot was actively working on the development of a new version of its 908 LMP1-class endurance racer called Hybrid4 featuring a diesel-hybrid powertrain that was supposed to participate in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.