Toyota sticks to one car for 2013 World Endurance Championship
|By Gary Watkins||Thursday, January 17th 2013, 15:38 GMT|
Toyota will run just one car in the full World Endurance Championship in 2013.
Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne had been working on fielding two cars in the full series, but the German organisation has confirmed rumours that it posted only one full-season entry ahead of the deadline on Wednesday.
The Japanese manufacturer will, however, enter two 2013 versions of its TS030 Hybrid at the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Spa round of the WEC in May as a warm-up.
A TMG spokesman said: "It is purely a matter of resources. What we shouldn't forget is that last year was intended as a test and development year and this year was meant to be our first full season, which probably would have meant one car in the WEC."
The WEC entry will be for the #7 car to be raced by Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre, who will be joined at Le Mans by Kazuki Nakajima.
The spokesman stressed that Toyota was not downgrading its aspirations for 2013 following its successful return to international sportscar racing last season.
"The target will be to win Le Mans and the world championship," he said. "We are still serious about winning."
Toyota will contest the 2013 WEC with a revised version of the TS030 Hybrid that won three races last season.
The updated car will be built around a new monocoque that eradicates the compromises in the 2012 tub, which was designed to allow the car to retrieve energy via either the front or rear axle.
Toyota's late-season form in last year's WEC had to make it the favourite for the title ahead of the 2013 season.
Pitting just one car against two Audis over the full eight-race season against two Audis could change that.
Surely any decent bookmaker would shorten the odds on Toyota scooping the end-of-season silverware, especially the manufacturers' championship. Only the best-placed car from each marque scores points, but with all races counting, there will be no room for error for Toyota.
The drivers' championship will be slightly different, but with two cars, Audi will have more tactical flexibility. That could prove decisive.