WEC Announces New Hypercar Class, Toyota Confirms Involvement
Today at Le Mans, Toyota confirmed it is extending its involvement in the FIA World Endurance Championship and that it will participate in the new Hypercar class, which the ACO also just announced this morning at its annual press conference.
The new Hypercar category will replace the current LMP1 regulations. The cars will weigh 1100 kg — or approximately 2425 lb — and output 750 bhp with the goal of slowing down Le Mans lap times by about 15 seconds.
Manufacturers will have the option of implementing hybrid systems with a 270-bhp limit, and will also be encouraged to use either bespoke prototypes or, importantly, road-going derivatives.
This has encouraged several OEMs to compete in the new category as it will allow them to save costs by adapting an existing car rather than building one from scratch purely for Le Mans. The high financial investment required to compete in LMP1 had been one of the major obstacles in the way attracting new manufacturers.
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Since the announcement this morning, Toyota, Aston Martin, and Glickenhaus have all already confirmed their participation in the new class, and there are rumors that other top manufacturers may want to join, including existing Le Mans competitors and ones that have not been involved in the WEC for a long time, such as McLaren, Mercedes, and Ferrari.
Toyota is currently the reigning Le Mans victor and will retire its successful TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car at the end of the 2019-20 season. The new car, which is currently being designed and developed at Toyota City in Higashi-Fuji and in Cologne, will be a racing version of the GR Super Sports Concept the automaker unveiled last year.
This weekend, however, Toyota will be fully focused on defending its title at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will mark the close of the 2018-19 WEC season.
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