Toyota unlikely to announce WEC plans at Fuji

Toyota appears unlikely to announce any decision on its future in the FIA World Endurance Championship at its home race at Fuji this weekend. 

Toyota unlikely to announce WEC plans at Fuji
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima

The Japanese manufacturer refused to comment on its LMP1 plans in the wake of the announcement of the major overhaul of the WEC at the Mexico City race in early September, but subsequently hinted that there could be news at the Fuji round. 

Now, Toyota Gazoo Racing has said in its pre-race press statement said that the news might "not necessarily" be communicated during the Japanese event. 

"Toyota's discussions regarding its own future participation in WEC are proceeding with all stakeholders," the statement read. 

"These have been the subject of various media reports, of varying degrees of accuracy, and a decision is expected within October, although not necessarily during the Fuji event." 

Toyota traditionally signs off its motorsport programmes during the second half of October, meaning any confirmation or cancellation of its WEC programme is unlikely to be communicated until the end of the month or the beginning of November. 

Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, from where the TS050 Hybrids are run, is understood to working on the assumption that the programme will continue into next season.

It appears that Toyota's decision will only cover the so-called 'superseason', incorporating five races in 2018 and three over the first half of 2019 before the WEC transitions into a winter series straddling two calendar years in 2019/20. 

The future direction of the LMP1 rulebook has yet to be defined, though the first steps were taken last week with a gathering of manufacturers in Paris and a subsequent technical working group meeting. 

Toyota did have a firm commitment to the 2018 WEC season, but this has had to be re-evaluated after the announcement of Porsche's withdrawal from the series' top division.

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