Toyota and Le Mans. They’re not usually words which engender a strong association, despite the fact that the Japanese company has competed there before. However Toyota has announced that it will enter races in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, including the infamous Le Mans 24 Hours race.
Toyota Motorsports GmbH will be the branch which is entering the series and it will use an LMP1 prototype chassis. The main feature, however, will be its drivetrain – a petrol-electric hybrid, rather than a diesel engine, the preference of the likes of Audi and Peugeot.
The drivtrain will be built in Japan by Toyota, while TMG will build the chassis, which has been created in Cologne, Germany, also the place where the team will be based.
TMG Chairman and Toyota Motor Corporation senior managing officer, Tadashi Yamashina, said ,”Toyota Motor Corporation has entered Le Mans before but by using our hybrid technology this time will be a completely new challenge.”
“We want to write a new page in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as in the FIA World Endurance Championship, through our use of hybrid technology,” said Mr Yamashina. “In addition, we aim to learn from the experience of competing in such a challenging motorsport environment to enhance our production car technology.”