Toyota has announced it will compete in the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hour race with a new car powered by a gasoline-hybrid powertrain. The chassis will be built to LMP1 regulations by Toyota Motorsport in Cologne, Germany, while the engine will come from Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan.
The company also plans to enter other races in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against Audi and 2011 champions, Peugeot.
The car will be rolled out early in 2012 for extensive pre-season testing ahead of its appearance at Le Mans. Toyota’s aim is to further explore the potential of its leading hybrid technology.
Tadashi Yamashina from Toyota said: “Toyota has entered Le Mans before, but using our hybrid technology this time will be a completely new challenge. We want to write a new chapter in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours through our use of hybrid technology.
“In addition, we aim to learn from the experience of competing in such a challenging motorsport environment to enhance our production car technology. Le Mans is a legendary race and I would like to thank the ACO and the FIA for their constructive and positive co-operation over the last few months.”
Toyota Motosport’s current motorsport projects will be unaffected by the announcement of the new racing program and will continue as before. Toyota hopes the new enterprise will provide further impetus to Toyota Motorsport’s successful business development.
Toyota last competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours as a manufacturer in the late 1990s, racing the GT-One – a car which famously established a new race lap record in 1999.