Toyota has been the front runner in hybrid-powered passenger vehicles for many years and is now setting its sights on hybrid race car domination. The company’s racing division, Toyota Motorsport, announced today that it will enter the 2012 World Endurance Championship with a new hybrid weapon.
The last time Toyota competed in Le Mans racing was in 1999, before the Japanese automaker abandoned its GT-One program to focus on Formula One.
Now, Toyota is busy developing a brand-new, gasoline-electric hybrid racer that will compete in the top LMP1 class. The chassis is in development with Toyota Motorsport at its Cologne, Germany headquarters, which previously served as the Formula 1 base. The prototype race car’s hybrid powertrain will be engineered in Japan.
Toyota’s head of motorsport activities, Tadashi Yamashima, commented, “We have competed in Le Mans before, but by using our hybrid technology, our participation in 2012 will be completely new. We want to make history in the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as in the FIA World Endurance Championship, through the use of our hybrid technology.”
It’s not going to be an easy task for Toyota, it’s new hybrid racer will need to match up with Audi as well as Peugeot, both of which are superpowers in the LMP1 class.