Kurt Verlin
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Toyota Wins First Endurance Race of Hypercar Era

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Toyota GR010 Hybrid leads 6 Hours of Spa
Photo: Toyota

The all-new Toyota GR010 Hybrid won its first-ever race at the 6 Hours of Spa, which marked the debut of the Hypercar class in the World Endurance Championship.

The Hypercar class was intended to be slower than the outgoing LMP1 class it replaced, but at times throughout the weekend, it seemed in danger of being slower than even the LMP2 class. Nonetheless, Toyota managed to stick it on pole position with the No. 7 car, though trouble in the race meant that it was the No. 8 car that ultimately claimed victory.

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For the time being, there are only two competitors in the Hypercar class: Toyota and Alpine (Renault’s new motorsports arm). However, along with the IMSA’s parallel LMDh class, it is anticipated to grow considerably over the next few years.

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus was expected to debut its SCG 007 hypercar at Spa, but skipped the race and now says it will appear at the 8 Hours of Portimão instead. The company claims that COVID travel restrictions have severely restricted its development and may also prevent it from competing at the final two events of the season following the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In coming years, Peugeot, ByKolles, and even Ferrari are each expected to join the Hypercar class, while Porsche, Audi, and Acura are expected to join the LMDh class. Both classes will compete in separate categories with LMDh able to compete against the Hypercar class at Le Mans.

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Balancing the performance of all these cars for the sake of parity and viewer entertainment, however, will not be easy. Fortunately, the governing bodies behind the WEC and Le Mans have some time to come up with a solution, as most manufacturers won’t be joining till 2023.

Let’s just hope that whatever form that solution takes, it does not require manufacturers to throw more money at the problem, because that was the issue that led to LMP1 getting abandoned and then replaced in the first place.