Toyota Gazoo Racing currently has “no plans” to race its Le Mans Hypercar in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship according to both its team and technical directors.
The Japanese manufacturer had previously expressed interest in tackling selected WeatherTech Championship races such as the Rolex 24 at Daytona once its car becomes eligible in 2023 under prototype convergence.
The development comes amid unconfirmed reports of a new car or significant update to its existing GR010 Hybrid for next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship season.
“At the moment, we have no plan to race in IMSA,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon.
“Nevertheless, we know now it would be possible. This kind of thing is reviewed and the feasibility to run in IMSA will be discussed. At the moment there is no plan.”
TGR-E team director Rob Leupen echoed Vasselon’s comments and said they wouldn’t race in standalone WeatherTech Championship races “at this stage.”
“We always thought about it that if the WEC included [more U.S. races] you would have some opportunities,” he told Sportscar365.
“I don’t think we have committed to any individual [IMSA] races going there.
“In Daytona we have some interest, the same with Indianapolis. There are races in the U.S. that are definitely interesting. But I think it should be part of the whole [WEC] calendar.”
Instead, Leupen hopes the WEC will expand to include second round in the U.S., which would guarantee the team’s participation beyond the current ‘Super Sebring’ event.
A combined WeatherTech Championship/WEC race at Daytona is not believed to be under consideration.
“We know there’s considerations to increase the number of [WEC] races next year,” Leupen said. “I think this is good. Then go a further step in 2024.
“I think if we go back to eight races, from our point of view, very good. Le Mans of course is ‘the race.’ We would like to see Fuji and you’d like to see Spa also.
“Sebring is a great event. If there’s one more in the U.S… Our drivers dream about certain ones. Indianapolis is one of them they think about.
“I personally would like to see another 24-hour race.”
Toyota appeared to be the most likely LMH manufacturer to take advantage of the global convergence ruleset in 2023, with Glickenhaus’ bid having been denied due to not meeting IMSA’s minimum road car production requirements and Ferrari not ready to debut its new car next January.
Fellow LMH manufacturer Peugeot, which will roll out with its 9X8 in the next WEC round at Monza in July, has also expressed interest but would have to re-badge its car to a Stellantis-owned manufacturer that sells cars in North America.
As is the case for LMDh manufacturers, IMSA rules also require any LMH car competing in the WeatherTech Championship to undergo wind tunnel validation testing at Windshear in North Carolina, with manufacturers needing to inform the sanctioning body of its 2023 plans by Sept. 1.
Any LMH cars taking part in the GTP class next year must also be present for IMSA’s December sanctioned test that will feature LMDh machinery.
“I think it would be good if they have it,” Leupen said of LMH cars in IMSA. “It’s more up to the manufacturers to do this. I don’t think IMSA would block that. That’s not the idea of the convergence.
“We would be eligible for this. It could be Peugeot, it could be Ferrari, which also comes with a LMH car. It’s more up to us to do this.
“At the moment it’s not on our radar. It’s a pity but it’s what it is.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report