Vijay Pattni14 October 2011

Toyota announces return to Le Mans

New petrol hybrid will enter 2012 endurance race. Tech could ‘enhance’ production cars…


Toyota has announced a return to the world's most famous endurance race. Next year, the Japanese carmaker will enter the top LMP1 class at Le Mans with a completely new sports car.

The new team will be based at Toyota Motorsport's headquarters in Cologne, with the new prototype expected to start its pre-season testing early 2012. And while scant information has been provided, all we know's a hybrid petrol powertrain.

Gallery: Toyota sportscars at Le Mans

The chassis will be developed by the Germany-based team, while that hybrid drivetrain will be engineered by Toyota back in Japan. And Le Mans is just one of a number of races the team will enter, so expect more details as and when we get them.

Tadashi Yamashina, Toyota motorsport chairman, said: "By using our hybrid technology this time will be a completely new challenge.

"In addition, we aim to learn from the experience of competing in such a challenging motorsport environment to enhance our production car technology", he added.

That's right, if the LMP1 Toyota is a success at Le Mans, you could see some tech trickle down into the company's production line. We've only got one thing to say: build the new Supra. Now.

Toyota's history at Le Mans stretches back to the 1980s, and in the 90s fielded the immensely quick GT-One - one of which was driven by Martin Brundle - that set a lap record around the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Excited by Toyota's re-entry into Le Mans, web badgers?

Now share it...

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.