Toyota to use F1 base for 2012 Le Mans entry

Le Mans 24 Hours

2012 Toyota LMP1 Le Mans 24 Hours car design sketch

2012 Toyota LMP1 Le Mans 24 Hours car design sketch

Toyota will use its former F1 team base in Cologne, Germany to run its 2012 Le Mans 24 Hour entry.

The team confirmed today it is building a petrol hybrid car to compete in the top LMP1 category of the endurance race.

Toyota will also enter other rounds of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Toyota Motorsport chairman Tadashi Yamashina said: “Toyota 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 chapter in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours, as in the FIA World Endurance Championship, 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 last competed at Le Mans with its GT-One in 1999, when they finished second to BMW after a tyre failure late in the race.

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36 comments on Toyota to use F1 base for 2012 Le Mans entry

  1. Victor_RO (@victor_ro) said on 14th October 2011, 9:38

    Audi vs Peugeot vs Toyota at the top level of sportscar racing… three words: BRING. IT. ON! :D

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th October 2011, 9:48

      Don’t forget VW is bringing Porsche back in as well. And although Aston Martin seems to have given up on doing a car themselves, they are competing as a brand.

      And a bit lower down we have all nice sportscars producers.

      • Victor_RO (@victor_ro) said on 14th October 2011, 12:53

        I know, but I was just thinking about the prospects for 2012. 2014 all of a sudden seems even more mouth-watering as well.

      • Krizz said on 15th October 2011, 10:26

        Don’t forget about Honda. Strakka Racing is going to race the Arx-03a next year, which is a further development of the Arx-01e that scored a magnificent 2nd place at Sebring this year! Can’t wait for next year!!!

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th October 2011, 9:43

    Funny how Toyota entering LeMans with an official manufacturer entry feels much more natural and promising to me than the news they were entering F1 at the time.

    It does show how the current format of endurance racing offers more perspective for close to production development done by car manufacturers with its engine format and the huge field making it more open to experimenting. Not to mention the endurance aspect makes for the perfect environment to test durability and fuel efficiency for drive train solutions.

    That car looks pretty nice, although its just a sketch. As Toyoto have a reputation to live up to in LeMans, they better get in with a solid effort first time (they can hardly afford a Aston Martin One debacle, can they).

  3. Wallbreaker said on 14th October 2011, 9:45

    I doubt they will be very successfull with hybrid power. The Diesels by Audi and Peugeot are the ones to beat.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th October 2011, 9:52

      That might be true @wallbreaker but Toyota wants to boost their profile with Hybrid engines.

      And in the years to come I think the Porsche will also do a hybrid so it might well come to replace the Diesel engines as the thing to have for endurance racing. Just as Diesel engines pushed out the petrol engines from the top spots in the past decade.

      • Wallbreaker said on 14th October 2011, 9:59

        Sure, but that might take some time. As you already said, they can hardly afford the same disaster as Aston Martin had, I hope for them that they will be more successful. Otherwise, this will be considered as another failed Toyota project.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th October 2011, 10:07

          But being best of the hybrids (or at least in the top 2 for hybrids) from the go would be deemed solid for a first year. And its not as if the hybrids field is that well developed so far, If I remember right, there was one car competing in it at the last edition of Le Mans 24h.

          • Wallbreaker said on 14th October 2011, 10:09

            Reliability is the key. If they do well, the results will come sooner or later. But reliability was their weakness at their first attempts winning it…

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th October 2011, 10:13

            very true Wallbreaker. They will have to work on that.

          • williams4ever said on 14th October 2011, 15:03

            @WB, BascB – Toyota had put one full years of preparation and testing effort before the announced their F1 entering intentions. I am sure somewhere around the globe they have prototyped a Lexus/Prius Badged LeMans model and put it through the rigours before making this announcement.
            That’s the toyota way after all.
            As long as they don’t get into the design by committee mode like they did in F1, they should be do fine and prove worthy competition to the incumbents.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 14th October 2011, 10:34

      I don’t think they think they could win immediately. However from 2014 LM would bring new rules and it would be hybrid-gasoline friendly. Even Peugeot think they would ditch diesel when new rules come. Also that is why gasoline oriented manufacturer such as Toyota and Porsche are trying to enter LM.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 14th October 2011, 17:40

      I thought that as well, but they must be really confident on their engines.

    • Mikemat5150 (@mikemat5150) said on 14th October 2011, 18:14

      The ACO are de-tuning the diesels for next year to make them more competitive with petrol cars so we could be in for a shake up

  4. BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th October 2011, 10:12

    LOL, I had a look at the endurance racing group to join some discussion. Its a bit empty so far guys and gals! There is a nice discussion about visiting Petit LeMans but so far thats it for active topics

    Where’s @alianora-la-canta when we need her :-)

  5. JCost (@jcost) said on 14th October 2011, 11:00

    Those shades make the car pictured look like a McLaren.

  6. Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 14th October 2011, 11:21

    I can’t wait to see this car compete. I think that the Le Mans series is really getting interesting with Porsche getting back into it and the monsters from Peugeot and Audi being so competitive.

    I think a trip to Le Mans might have to be on the cards soon!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th October 2011, 11:38


      I think a trip to Le Mans might have to be on the cards soon!

      I’m thinking the same thing, especially as there’s no Canadian Grand Prix clash next year.

      • Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 14th October 2011, 15:14

        I was also hoping to get to the Silverstone 6hr sprint event recently, which was apparently really good.

        It’s such a shame Aston Martin are opting out of the LMP1 category. I know they’ve toiled a bit in recent years but if we could’ve kept them the series would be an even better spectacle (particularly for fans of the old marques).

  7. PJ (@pjtierney) said on 14th October 2011, 11:32

    Looks like a 908. Hopefully Toyota bring back the GT-One livery and not use the F1 getup they had (which I actually liked, mind).

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th October 2011, 13:40

    I do plan on watching the 24 Hours next year.

    The best news about this is another manufacturer is venturing into motorsport again. F1 may be a while off for many of them, but with new interest in Le Mans as well as the WRC, this is great news.

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th October 2011, 13:45

    Todt gives the project his blessing:

    The arrival of Toyota and its hybrid engine to the pinnacle of endurance racing on circuits across the world is one that I applaud warmly. The proven technological excellence allied to a strong and tested competitive streak make Toyota a formidable opponent as well as a true innovator in motorsport and in everyday motoring.

  10. On the contrary said on 14th October 2011, 15:54

    Does this finally mean there will be no chance of Stefan GP on F1 grid?? I am so very shattered :(

  11. Klon (@klon) said on 14th October 2011, 17:07

    So does this mean their Le Mans effort will be driven by Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli and Ricardo Zonta? Hmm…

  12. Lexustechsa said on 14th October 2011, 17:21

    Toyota/Lexus have done endurance races with hybrids before, and they were succesfull. If I remember correctly they raced a RX400h at the Nurburgring 24 hour race a few years ago, they also raced a GS450h at a race in Japan and won their class.

  13. Calum (@calum) said on 14th October 2011, 20:39

    Porsche, Audi Peugeot and now Toyota all confirmed in LeMan… bring on the Jags and Beemers!!!

  14. Mahir C said on 14th October 2011, 22:32

    They brought just about the quickest car in 98 and 99, lost by unreliability and accidents. They were also pretty good in the early 90s. Toyota has a good record in Le Mans although they failed to win.

    But I dont think they can win with hybrid power till 2014. They engine rules at the moment are too biased in favour of diesels. I remember reading it is the torque that counts since they have a lot of long straights after slow corners.

  15. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 15th October 2011, 1:33

    hopefully, the energy porsche and toyota bring (figuratively) will help sort out the cluster that is modern sports cars, and draw in some more heavyweights.

    le mans hybrid rules say electric is to “only add fuel economy, never to add power” which i think is too tame. let those horses run!

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