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Toyota Moves Closer to LMP1 Confirmation

Toyota moves closer to continuation of LMP1 Hybrid program for 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship season…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota has moved closer to confirming its continued participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship, following comments made Wednesday at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The Japanese manufacturer, which has had its factory LMP1 program up for evaluation in the wake of Porsche’s exit from top-level competition, now appears likely to return for the WEC’s 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ as well as into the championship’s new set of prototype regulations, which is due in 2020.

Speaking during the build-up to the show, Toyota Gazoo Racing President Shigeki Tomoyama suggested the FIA and ACO’s proposed new regulations, due to be released in December, looks increasingly appealing to the automaker.

“Once things have calmed down, we will make a decision, but we will probably continue to be racing in a new top-flight class which they are looking to create,” Tomoyama said in an article published on Autocar.co.uk. “We are looking to stay – and only with the goal of winning.”

A Toyota spokesperson, meanwhile, issued the following statement in response to Tomoyama’s comments: “Toyota is willing to participate in WEC 2018-19 but our commitment will depend on appropriate regulations being confirmed.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon told Sportscar365 earlier this month that it is waiting on the outcome of not only the 2020 LMP1 rules but also the interim set of regulations for 2018/19, which will see hybrid and non-hybrid LMP1 cars combined into a single class.

“We are tracking what happens, so it’s difficult to ask us for a commitment before we know exactly what we’re talking about,” Vasselon said.

“At the moment, the regulations for next year and for the future of WEC are not clear cut. There’s no point to rush a decision based on what we know at the moment.

“From our side, I don’t think we have an absolute deadline when we need to say yes or no.”

Meetings have been ongoing with the FIA, ACO and current and prospective manufacturers in recent weeks.

Final confirmation on Toyota’s plans are expected to come in December, when the new regs are presented to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for approval.

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

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Greeny

    October 25, 2017 at 9:07 am

    If Toyota have almost announced that they will be in the WEC next season but have not made it 100% official yet then it sounds to me as if they are pulling out at the end of the season. Shame!!

    • TF110

      October 25, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Uh, no? How you can come to that conclusion is past me. It looks totally opposite of what you said. They’re just saying this so the rule makers speed up the non-hybrid cars to their own pace so it’s not a farce with Toyota seconds a lap faster.

      • Greeny

        October 26, 2017 at 2:56 am

        I don’t want them to leave the WEC. I sinically remember Porsche saying they were committed to the end of 2018 and now look, leaving at the end of the year.

    • Laird Sasser

      October 25, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Sure is a shame, but take heart…… the fact that PORSCHE ain’t gonna be around will have a positive effect on their decision I’m sure

  2. Change it up

    October 25, 2017 at 9:38 am

    What kind of prototypes, in specific, are going to be used as non hybrids? Are they new prototypes or ones that have been shelved since when the WEC went hybrid only?

    • Max

      October 25, 2017 at 10:42 am

      They’re new cars developed by Ginetta, Perrin, and Dallara, with the potential of a return by ByKolles and a future ORECA. That said, only Dallara has hard orders from SMP. Ginetta has a test program in place that could turn into a full effort.

      • Dennis

        October 25, 2017 at 11:29 am

        Yes but Perrin has changed is plans and is now coming with an all electric lmp1 garage 56 project instead.

      • TF110

        October 25, 2017 at 12:57 pm

        Ginetta is the one with 3 orders. SMP is the Dallara lmp1 with a one or two car team. ByKolles is the other one. Oreca might be another option but everything we heard so far on it is tight lipped.

  3. pdxracefan

    October 25, 2017 at 10:38 am

    A definite maybe.

  4. Bob

    October 25, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Basically, a non story & No, they did not. Toyota Corp still waiting for rules. Want to see what the deal is before committing. Logical & that’s it. Just wait until they announce something.

  5. jason

    October 25, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    I summarize the article as Toyota is about 70% likely to be in. On the side I guess we could be looking at about 7 LMP1s: 2 Toyotas, 2 BR Dallaras, 2 Ginettas, 1 CLM.

    What team(s) are rumored to run the Gineetas?

    • Mamozrenesis

      October 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Ginetta officially confirmed that 3 cars have been sold but they refused to reveal the name of the team.
      However multiple sources including Sportscar365 say that the most likely team is Manor Racing.
      Let’s wait and see!

  6. therandomguy

    October 25, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    As long as the balance the hybrids and non-hybrids then Toyota will stay in. Do hope ACO and FIA do balance it well cos it sounds like they will not and want to make sure Toyota win at all cost. Just treating the news as a pinch of salt.

  7. Degner

    October 25, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    If Toyota stays, P1 will be even more of a joke than it already is.

    They may choose to stay because they can win without expending the resources needed to beat another manufacturer. They won’t even have to update their cars significantly… Staying might also be attractive because the door to victory at Le Mans will finally be wide open – hollow though that would be.

    The level of support and technical resources Toyota has will overwhelm any of the non-hybrid teams/makers that might enter. Toyota staying in WEC will be as harmful as Toyota leaving the WEC – an all too predictable sham.

  8. Bitburg

    October 25, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    How are we to believe that Ginetta has three orders, Dallara a couple etc when the rules have not yet been finalized?

    Do we expect potential teams to order “competitive” machinery that is not yet fully designed, let a lone tested?

    What would a non-corporate, privateer team hope/expect to get out of competing against a Toyota team advantaged by resources, organization, and mature equipment in little need of further development?

    WEC’s LMP1 show is full of internal contradictions – but not in an amusing way like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.

    Toyota may well decide to stay given a playing field tilted entirely toward them. But as a commenter above said, this piece is a non-story. Vague comments at the Tokyo Motor Show do not the future portend. But they do make for the kind of “what do we publish today?” story so prevalent on motorsport.com. Largely meaningless.

    • 624endurance

      October 26, 2017 at 7:13 am

      You’re getting your deadlines mixed up. Toyota is speaking of the forth coming 2020 regs and wether or not it will want to continue in that direction.

      The LMP1 non-hybrids are set to a set of regs for 2018 that has already been finalized. Those cars have been designed and sold if they are reporting it. Toyota is weighing their options for the future because if next year is junk, they want to see if the 2020 regs will be worth waiting for. Next year may be junk because many are worried that LMP1 non-hybrid cars and privateer teams might be so far behind the Toyota that it is boring.

  9. John

    October 25, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Hard to offer a firm comment until the rules and field are finally confirmed.

    But if Toyota stays and manages to finally win the LM24, would it be “hollow?”

    I don’t think either Toyota, or Porsche, would tell anyone they were at any point comfortable going against the strong P2 field in last year’s race.

    And if a similar standard was applied evenly, at least some of Audi’s resume would have to be questioned in the same way, given some of the fields it competed against.

  10. Davy

    October 26, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I can’t wait to see the Toyota dumbed down enough so it can compete with bykolles and Smp. Hopefully the tv director doesn’t spend too much tv time covering this junk class and instead focuses on GTE.

  11. kv

    October 26, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Toyota is waiting for what ,McClaren and every other manufacturer wants ,a common platform for LMP1 !

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