Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed today its participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) beyond 2020 when new technical regulations come into play.
Starting with the 2020-2021 season, the top class of the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans will no longer be called LMP1. It will adopt the name “Hypercars” instead and will consist of two types of racers: prototypes in the style of a hypercar and racing versions of road-going hypercars.
Toyota has chosen to take the latter route and will build its car based on the GR Super Sport road car first shown in January 2018. The automaker has already released the first CGI of its hypercar racer which features a very similar silhouette to the GR Super Sport road car concept but a more extreme aerodynamic package.
“Toyota Gazoo Racing is delighted to confirm it will participate in the 2020-2021 season with a hybrid-powered prototype based on the GR Super Sport road car. Both road and race car are undergoing design and intensive development at the company’s technical centers in Toyota City, Higashi-Fuji and Cologne,” the automaker said in a press release.
Toyota said it welcomes the future challenge of competing against other sports car manufacturers in the top category of WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Companies that have announced their participation in the “Hypercar” class so far include Aston Martin with a Valkyrie-based racer, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus with the SCG 007, and ByKolles Racing.
Track testing of the new Toyota race car will begin next year prior to the start of the 2020-2021 season. The name of the car will be announced at a later date and further details of the Toyota GR Super Sport road car will be issued “in due course.”
According to the new regulations, a manufacturer that competes in the Hypercar class with a road car-based racer must build a minimum of 20 road models over a two-year period. The new rules also stipulate that the cars must have a maximum weight of 1,100 kg (2,425 lbs) and an average output of 550 kW (750 PS/738 hp). They should also be able to deliver an average lap time of 3 minutes and 30 seconds in race conditions.
Interestingly, hybrid systems are not mandatory but cars that will adopt this solution will be allowed to have a maximum hybrid system output of 200 kW (270 PS/268 hp). To create a level playing field between AWD hybrid cars and 2WD non-hybrid racers, a LMGTE Pro-based Balance of Performance (BoP) system will be applied. In the same spirit, there will be a single tire supplier.