Toyota rules out WEC hiatus ahead of new LMP1 regs

Toyota expects to remain in the World Endurance Championship in 2019/20 if it commits to building a new LMP1 car for the regulations to be introduced the following season.

Toyota rules out WEC hiatus ahead of new LMP1 regs
Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Thomas Laurent, Mike Conway
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso

The Japanese manufacturer is currently only committed to the WEC to the end of the 2018/19 superseason, but insists it would be natural to remain for the first season run to the winter-series format in 2019/20 should it make a long-term commitment to the championship.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon told Motorsport.com: "We are interested in the 2020 regulations, which under the current discussions means GT Prototype cars.

"At the moment we don't know enough about these regulations to really commit, but we are interested. If our interest is confirmed when the regulations are known, naturally we will be there [in 2019/20]."

Vasselon explained that it would not make sense to take a season off.

"Either we are interested in 2020 and we bridge the gap, or we are not and then maybe we stop," he said.

He then dismissed speculation that the new rules could be delayed until 2021/22.

"At the moment the target is 2020 and we should not do anything to delay it," he said. "It should remain 2020, which is why the schedule starts to be a bit tight but still workable."

The plan of the rule makers is to announce the 2020/21 regulations during the week of the Le Mans 24 Hours this June.

Toyota revealed a Gazoo Racing concept car at last month's Tokyo motor show that hinted at how a GTP car might look.

The GR Super Sport Concept is largely based on components from the TS050 Hybrid and is being used to promote its new GR performance sub-brand.

Toyota believes it is important that manufacturers should be allowed to continue to develop advanced technologies in LMP1.

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