Third Toyota entry a "realistic option" for 2017

Toyota says it will not enter a third car at Le Mans next season, but could introduce an additional entry for the 2017 season.

Third Toyota entry a "realistic option" for 2017
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis and #1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima and #2 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Alexander Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway
#2 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Alexander Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway
#2 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Alexander Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway
Alexander Wurz, Toyota Racing
#2 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Alexander Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway
#2 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Alexander Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway

Toyota vice-president Rob Leupen has also told Motorsport.com that an increased budget in on the cards for next year.

"We will not run a third car for 2016," said Leupen, "because we are having an entirely new car, so next year it won't happen at Le Mans. Then for 2017 it is a very realistic option.

"We will have an increase [in budget] but because of the ninth race [in Mexico] we have come under added pressure.

"We have some additional commercial resources, but the ninth race confirmation caught us out, which is the same for the others.

"We don't want to compromise our development budget but as I say an extra race means another aero-spec and many other things so naturally it is a big issue for the teams."

Leupen also said that the new turbocharged engine has run on Toyota's in-house dyno in Cologne.

Toyota will run a petrol powered turbo engine and also switch from a super-capacitor to a battery energy-storage system.

Leupen also confirmed that the new car, to be known as the Toyota TS 050 HYBRID, will be upgraded from the 6MJ to the 8MJ energy-retrieval sub-class.

"In early October we had the engine running on the dyno, as well the new Hybrid system which will be connected to the new engine, so we are happy to be much better prepared for 2016," he added.

"We will have a completely new chassis for next year. There are some parts carried over but due to the pressure on weight saving, we will look at every part to save as much weight as possible.

"It is a costly exercise but we need to leave no stone unturned to be at the same level as our competitors next season.

"We will move from six to eight mega joules on energy retrieval which will be a good step."

2016 driver line-ups to be announced in February

The complete 2016 driver line-up for Toyota will be confirmed in Japan next February.

Speculation has mounted in recent months that Alex Wurz will leave the team and will be replaced by test and reserve driver Kamui Kobayashi.

"We will announce the driver line-ups in February. It is fair to say that [Kobayashi] is one of our first options," added Leupen. "He has been with us for a little time now and there is a good relationship."

Leupen confirmed to Motorsport.com that Sam Bird will be the only new face to test a Toyota TS 040 in Bahrain later this month.

Bird was recently confirmed by the FIA WEC as the designated rookie to be given an LMP1 test.

"We are happy to test Sam Bird. For next year we will be fairly consistent with our driver line-up," said Leupen.

"We will only test Sam at Bahrain, he will get good time and we want it to be a good and serious test for him. Mike [Conway] will set the car up for him."

shares
comments
KCMG grabs sensational WEC podium at Shanghai

Previous article

KCMG grabs sensational WEC podium at Shanghai

Next article

Gallery: The fairytale story of Porsche's return to WEC and Le Mans

Gallery: The fairytale story of Porsche's return to WEC and Le Mans
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak Prime

How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak

The FIA World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 Hybrid remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing.

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Prime

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness.

Le Mans
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear Prime

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021