Toyota will compete at 2012 Le Mans with a hybrid

Published: 14 October 2011

Toyota today announced it would compete at the 2012 Le Mans 24-hour race with a hybrid sports car in the LMP1 class.

This single rendering has been issued of the new Toyota hybrid race car. The Japanese giant has not competed at Le Mans in a factory team since the late 1990s with the GT-One, which set a lap record in 1999.

Toyota hybrid Le Mans car: the lowdown

Toyota Motorsport in Germany will develop the new hybrid LMP1 racer, with the hybrid drivetrain coming from HQ in Japan.

Not much is being said about the Toyota Le Mans challenger yet; it will be unveiled fully at a later date, with pre-season testing starting in early 2012.

In the past few months Toyota Motorsport set a new electric car record at the Nurburgring with a 7min 47sec record in a battery car. It's pretty clear that Toyota is cranking up its EV activities and introducing us to the idea they can be fun as well as frugal.

The Toyota team speak

Tadashi Yamashina, chairman of Toyota Motorsport, said: 'Toyota has entered Le Mans before, but by using our hybrid technology this time will be a completely new challenge. We want to write a new chapter in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours, as in the FIA World Endurance Championship, through our use of hybrid technology.

'In addition, we aim to learn from the experience of competing in such a challenging motorsport environment to enhance our production car technology. Le Mans is a legendary race and I would like to thank the ACO and the FIA for their constructive and positive co-operation over the last few months.'

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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