Toyota has today confirmed it will compete in the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) super season, which includes two runnings of the famed Le Mans 24-Hour race.
Announcing the Toyota GAZOO Racing entry, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said he wants Toyota to build a hybrid sports car for the road, based on the WEC cars – “to help us make cars fun for the next 100 years”.
The Toyota GAZOO Racing entry of its 1000hp TS050 HYBRID race cars in the eight events of the 2018-19 WEC season reaffirms Toyota’s commitment to the development of hybrid powertrain technology through motorsport.
Toyota has played an active part in defining the WEC LMP1 technical regulations for the coming season, which includes the Le Mans 24 Hours in June 2018 and June 2019, as well as the Sebring 12-Hour in Florida in March 2019, and six-hour events in Belgium, Britain, Japan and China.
Toyota’s WEC hybrid project began in 2012 and has contributed to the corporation’s global target of making ever-better cars – particularly the development of hybrid powertrains within the innovative endurance championship regulations.
The fundamental hybrid technology used in the Toyota TS050 HYBRID has delivered a 35 per cent improvement in fuel economy for the Toyota race cars since the WEC program began in 2012.
The WEC project has also contributed to Toyota’s ever-better road cars target by enhancing the knowledge and experience of road-car powertrain engineers, who are seconded to the WEC team to learn processes and working methods in a high-pressure environment.
Akio Toyoda said he attended the Le Mans race for the first time in 2017 and heard many people say they would like to see Toyota come out with a hybrid sports car, like its cars in the race.
“I, too, would like us to produce just such a car,” he said.
“The ever-better cars that Toyota pursues are honed and created via the extreme environment of motorsport. That is exactly why we will persistently engage in motorsport.”
The goal of improved road cars was also behind Toyota’s return to the World Rally Championship in 2017, winning two events and finishing third in the manufacturers’ championship in its first season.
Toyota GAZOO Racing won five of the nine races in the 2017 World Endurance Championship season. It will announce its 2018-19 driver line-up early in 2018.