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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

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