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Toyota Confirms LMP1 Return for 2018/19

Toyota Gazoo Racing confirms return to FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed its return to the FIA World Endurance Championship next year, with the Japanese manufacturer committing for the entire 2018/19 ‘Super Season.’

The announcement came from team president Hisatake Murata in Sunday’s end-of-season awards ceremony in Bahrain.

It ends months of speculation and hints that it would likely continue with its Toyota TS050 Hybrids into next season, despite facing no direct LMP1 hybrid competition following Porsche’s exit.

Toyota Gazoo Racing President Shigeki Tomoyama revealed last month that they were “looking to stay” in the championship, despite the depleted manufacturer involvement.

Toyota joins confirmed privateer entries from SMP Racing, DragonSpeed and Manor in the top prototype class next year, with additional LMP1 non-hybrids expected in the new-look category.

Drivers have yet to be confirmed, although technical director Pascal Vasselon told Sportscar365 this weekend that it would likely come in January, during the the manufacturer’s annual motorsport event in Tokyo.

It’s understood the team is unlikely to again field three cars in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Max

    November 19, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    It’s good for the WEC that this happened. Hopefully they won’t forget about Privateers again for a few more years. As always, that’s what saved LMP1.

  2. Barber

    November 19, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    They need to give Juan Pablo Montoya a seat too.

    • Josh

      November 19, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      He already has a job. JPM has joined his Indy Car owner Penske Racing and Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor, Dane Cameron, Simon Pagenaud & Graham Rahal. Toyota already has a F1 driver signed for 2018 and their assault on Le Mans: Fernando Alonso. Combined with their regular drivers, doubtful in their 2 car program they will race Juan Pablo at Toyota.

  3. Jason R Evans

    November 19, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    WEC is a horrible joke.. Go Imsa!

    • AudiTT

      November 19, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      WEC has consistently been the premier sports car series in the world these past 5 years. Expanding the reach and fan base in the process. Next year the factory LMP1 battle maybe no more, but the class looks set for expansion, P2 should be as entertaining as ever, and GTE-Pro/Am will be better still with new entries and cars from BMW and Aston Martin.

      I’m sure IMSA will be great. But in case you missed it, they race on a single continent, so sports car fans around the world don’t have an opportunity to see the series live.

    • Steven

      November 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      So IMSA has kept a few of the manufacturers by letting them add/change a few bits on a spec LMP2 chassis and call it their own. That’s not how manufacture presence is felt in the prototype world.

      And IMSA still does not have the same amount of fans going to the track that ALMS did.

  4. Johannes275

    November 19, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    “as entertaining as ever.”
    Well, not “as ever” for the drivers. This year it was a disaster.

    “…in case you missed it, they race on a single continent, so sports car fans around the world don’t have an opportunity to see the series live.”
    Uhhh, dunno what you’re talking about, IMSA uploads full coverage of all their races on YouTube, so….yeah.

    • Davy

      November 20, 2017 at 1:59 am

      IMSA is significantly better, for the simple reason that it’s not under the FIA banner. They have to race on useless tracks like Fuji, Bahrain, Shanghai and COTA, while IMSA can pick and choose actual interesting venues.

      • KW

        November 24, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        “Interesting venues”? Are you talking about these rotten US race tracks that have no more FIA acknowledgement because they are not safe (see Watkins Glen)?
        Fact: FIA WEC is a World Championship with worldwide standards, IMSA is a national championship with national standards.
        I see that the DPi regulations are working fine and should be at least partly taken over by the FIA for the FIA WEC after 2020, but this doesn’t make IMSA “better”.

  5. FlyingLobster27

    November 20, 2017 at 3:07 am

    If Toyota doesn’t use three cars at Le Mans, someone’s going to have to give up their race for Alonso. Not the first time that’s happened.
    Still, it’s good news that a major manufacturer will continue to take prototypes to Le Mans. Hopefully the privateer competition will be up to scratch and properly balanced with the mighty TS050.

    • Davy

      November 20, 2017 at 10:00 am

      I doubt it. They are new designs for low tier teams, with poor driver pairings. Even if theoretically the petrol LMP1s are balanced with the Toyota, I doubt they will be a match in racing conditions.

  6. Gordon

    November 20, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Well maybe now they’ll win. Bit hollow though.

  7. fernando martins

    November 20, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Toyota has spent Gazillions trying to win Le Mans. This year they might finally achieve it… they only have to beat themselves… so it doesn’t make sense to enter only 2 cars…they should enter a third one… more competition!

  8. Passenger

    November 20, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Good to hear they stay in WEC. I sill believe and guess that Toyota will leave LMP1 and change to GTLM or they will make their DPi as WEC will common DPi in future. If that is true.

  9. dave henrie

    November 21, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    If Toyota/Gazoo is going to continue, they need a mascot!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Gazoo

    Imagine THAT on the nose!

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