As expected, Toyota has confirmed that it will enter a third LMP1 car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, in its bid for overall glory in the French endurance classic.
Team veteran Stephane Sarrazin is the only confirmed driver for the third TS050 Hybrid so far, with the Frenchman having been replaced by Jose Maria Lopez in the team’s two-car full-season lineup.
It will mark the Japanese manufacturer’s first three-car effort at Le Mans since 1999.
“I believe this is an exciting time for Toyota Gazoo Racing in endurance racing,” said team president Toshio Sato.
“Entering three cars for Spa and Le Mans represents a new challenge for our team. We are working hard to be prepared and we are inspired to win.”
Both Toyota Young Driver Ryo Hirakawa and LMP2 standout Pipo Derani have been linked with possible seats in the third Toyota, although the manufacturer has yet to comment on the remainder of the lineup.
Toyota’s three-car commitment will result in a LMP1 field of at least six cars at Le Mans, joined by the two expected entries from Porsche Team and the single ByKolles Racing CM P1/01, which will now utilize Nissan power.
The team will present its updated Toyota TS050 Hybrid on March 31 in Monza, prior to the two-day pre-season Prologue test at the Italian circuit.