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Toyota rules out LMDh after Aston Martin withdrawal

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Toyota rules out LMDh after Aston Martin withdrawal
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Feb 22, 2020, 12:17 AM

Toyota has ruled out building a FIA World Endurance Championship contender to LMDh rules even though it could be left as the only major manufacturer running an LM Hypercar. 

The Japanese manufacturer has insisted it remains committed to the LMH rules despite Aston Martin's withdrawal from the 2020/21 WEC earlier this week and Peugeot's revelation that it could swap to the new LMDh platform for its WEC entry in 2022. 

It leaves only niche marques Glickenhaus and ByKolles as potential rivals for Toyota in the first season of the WEC's hypercar era, which will begin in September.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon stressed that the next generation of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prototypes that will be able to compete against LMH cars in the WEC from 2021/22 don't fit with the company's needs.

"It doesn't correspond to what we are looking for," he said. "We are racing to develop technology and to improve technology, so it is true that for us it is not interesting to purchase an LMP2 chassis, to purchase an off-the-shelf hybrid system.

"We fully understand that this is the right approach for other manufacturers, [but] for us definitely no."

Vasselon also pointed out that development of Toyota's new LMH machine for the 2020/21 WEC campaign starting in September was already at an advanced stage.

"Fortunately, most of the parts are in production, so there is no way back," he said. 

Vasselon stated that Toyota believes more manufacturers will enter the WEC with LMH cars in the future, stressing that Peugeot's plan for the moment remains building a car to LMH rules.

"We still consider that manufacturers will join LMH," he said. "Peugeot is still meant to join in the not so distant future, so you will have to ask them what they plan to do."

Vasselon insisted that Toyota had no doubts about the ability of WEC rule makers, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and the FIA, to balance LMH and LMDh cars. 

"The ACO and FIA claim that the Balance of Performance in the plan is the best ever," he said. "We cannot suspect there will be an unequal balance: by principle the BoP that's coming cannot be politically driven."

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Series WEC , IMSA
Author Gary Watkins