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Toyota: No Decision on WEC Future Until October

Toyota’s Vasselon confirms no decision on its LMP1 future until October…

Photo: Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing will not make a final decision on its future in the FIA World Endurance Championship until October at the earliest, according to team technical director Pascal Vasselon.

Following Porsche’s sudden announcement in July that it would be ending its LMP1 program at the end of the year and leaving Toyota as the sole manufacturer in the WEC’s premier class, questions have been raised about the future of the category and the Japanese marque’s role.

Under contract to race in the WEC until the end of 2019, Vasselon said a decision would be taken once further details about the championship are made clear in the coming weeks, with more information set to be announced today in Mexico City.

“As you know, there will be some announcements soon. We just need to get this information, look at it, and come back with an opinion and then some decisions,” Vasselon told select media including Sportscar365 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“It will not be before October at least, to make up our minds. We just need to wait and see what will be coming in the next hours and days.

“It’s difficult to comment at the moment because basically we did not get an announcement of what the ACO and the FIA want to do. So it’s a bit premature to discuss that.”

Vasselon confirmed that Toyota would “most probably” run two cars at Le Mans next year should it return, but did not rule out fielding just a sole entry to the LMP1 class.

When asked under what conditions Toyota would keep racing in LMP1 next year, Vasselon stressed the importance of added competition, with fresh regulations announced at Le Mans with a view to 2020.

“If we stay, it will be for the prospects of 2020. It is for the prospect of welcoming competitors later,” he said.

“We need to understand where the calendar goes, if competitors are coming, and where based on that where the regulations go. These are the three elements: calendar, competitors and regulations.

“This weekend we are here to get information to understand what will be the conditions. Don’t expect any statement from our side in the next days. You can come back with questions, but you will not get answers.

“We are left where we were at Le Mans, the shared announcement of 2020. Things are changing, obviously. Now we need information and we need to understand what will happen and what will be our circumstances and make up our mind and tell what we will be doing.

“But again, not before October. I don’t expect from our side any statement before October.”

John Dagys contributed to this report

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Sir Skipdsalot

    September 1, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Gee, maybe they’ll build a Toyota or Licksass DPi??

  2. Mo

    September 1, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    One thing about those lickass DPis- they will definitely be racing in 2018.

  3. John

    September 1, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Probably not going out on a limb to say Toyota will do the LM24, if only as a one-off, and perhaps finally succeed in reaching the top step. Which is by no means guaranteed.

    I doubt Toyota sees the attraction in competing in a top-level class without some sort of technology component, so even if the ACO adopts DPis in some form, there is no assurance of their participation unless it allows a hybrid element.

    Which, come to think of it, would allow at least a big of face saving, and maintain some distinction between ACO and IMSA.

    But really, nothing will be settled until Peugeot finishes drawing up the rules, LOL.

    • TF110

      September 1, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      Looks like your comments were a bit premature as the ACO is keeping hybrids. And there’s only 4 races in the 2018, so the rumored ‘reduced running’ for Toyota is because of the schedule. Lol

      • John

        September 2, 2017 at 2:55 am

        Where did I say hybrids were going away?

        My point was that the ACO would have to allow hybrids to have any hope of Toyota continuing, even if it adopted DPi in some fashion.

  4. Vette76

    September 1, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Retour de Sebring, super !!! Reste plus qu’à ajouter Daytona en janvier et nous aurons enfin un vrai championnat du monde !

  5. Anonymous

    September 1, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Are they going to leave? I,m in two minds about it.

    If they stay great, they’ll finally get that LM24 win they should already have!

    But

    If they leave it will force ACO/FIA to completely rethink the new-for-2020 LMP1 Regulations! Which I confess to not being a fan of!

  6. Mark - Toronto

    September 18, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Interesting pieces to the puzzle. On the surface you’d think 2018 presents an unusually good chance of victory in terms of competition. If I recall, sponsorship opportunities at Indy this year were somewhat compromised by the relatively late ‘coming together’ of the project. (Existing McLaren sponsors got some compensation for their dismal F1 investment.) If there was more lead time for a Le Mans effort, I wonder what additional funds his effort could bring. Depending on what he’d accept as a salary, would the ‘cache’ translate into enough opportunities to have any influence over Toyota’s decision to remain, at least until June? Especially if the 2020 regulations were deemed encouraging from their perspective.

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