Toyota Gazoo Racing has officially confirmed that they will be entering their TS050 Hybrid race cars for at least the 2018-19 season of the FIA World Endurance Championship, following a brief announcement in the Bahrain paddock last month.
With the LMP1 regulations now finalised, the Japanese manufacturer has released an official statement explaining their commitment to the development of hybrid powertrain technology through motorsport.
While their driver line-up is expected to say the same, the team have held off announcing who will be representing them until early next year.
“More than 100 years have passed since the birth of the automobile. As we approach times of tremendous change represented by electrification, automation and other developments, I am strongly determined to make sure that cars will be fun for the next 100 years.” said Akio Toyoda, President, Toyota Motor Corporation.
“Since 2012, we have taken up the challenge of the FIA World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans 24 Hours, with race cars equipped with hybrid technologies.
“Of course, we have always approached this challenge with a desire to drive faster than any other car and to win. Yet our cars carried our desire for more than just that.
“Not only did we want to heighten environmental performance in terms of fuel efficiency and such, we also had a very strong desire to create hybrid cars that made drivers feel that driving is fun, and that made them want to keep at it and want to let the cars keep on going.
“This year, I went to Le Mans for the first time and heard people cheering for Toyota. I also heard many people saying that they would like to see Toyota come out with a hybrid sports car like our cars in the race.”
“I, too, would like us to produce just such a car, and I think it would be one that would help make cars fun for the next 100 years.
“This year, our cars were extremely fast on the roads of Le Mans. But they were not able to combine speed with the strength needed to keep at it for 24 hours. While wanting to provide cars that our customers will want to ride in and drive, I keenly realized that we have a long way to go.
“It is highly regrettable that our rival in honing technologies on the roads of Le Mans has left. Yet the World Endurance Championship, in which cars of different categories race at the same time, and particularly Le Mans, where the battle goes on for 24 hours, including on public roads, still represents the optimal proving ground for achieving the goal of making cars fun for the next 100 years.
“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, without being swayed by the good and bad of economic times.
“Toyota Gazoo Racing will continue to race in this competition again next season. And, from here on as well, so that we will be able to provide our customers with cars that are fun to drive and cars that they want to let keep on going, we will continue to build on our skills and technology gained thus far. We would be happy to receive everyone’s continued support. Thank you very much.”