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
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021
Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Prime

Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.

WEC
Aug 14, 2021
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