Toyota will remain in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018-2019 season, the automaker confirmed.
The news comes as little surprise, given that Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota’s motorsport boss, previously said the company wants to stay in the competition. The final decision hinged on the outcome of new LMP1 regulations, which have just been published. The automaker will field its TS050 Hybrid race cars under the Toyota Gazoo Racing team.
Now that Porsche has called it quits, Toyota remains the only major manufacturer to compete in the LMP1 class. But the automaker’s CEO doesn’t seem too fazed.
“It is highly regrettable that our rival in honing technologies on the roads of Le Mans has left,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said in a statement. “Yet the World Endurance Championship, in which cars of different categories race at the same time, and particularly Le Mans, where the battle goes on for 24 hours, including on public roads, still represent the optimal proving ground for achieving the goal of making cars fun for the next 100 years.”
Toyota has the perfect opportunity to redeem itself after a lackluster performance at Le Mans this year. During the race, the No. 7 TS050 Hybrid experienced a clutch problem and was unable to recover. Then, the No. 9 entry caught on fire after being hit from behind, while the No. 8 car suffered a front motor issue.
Toyota Gazoo Racing will announce its driver lineup early next year.