Toyota plans to give WEC hypercar challenger debut in June 2020

Toyota is planning to give its hypercar challenger for the 2020/21 World Endurance Championship season a June '20 debut

Toyota plans to give WEC hypercar challenger debut in June 2020

Aston Martin and Toyota are the two manufacturers to have signed up to the new regulations.

Toyota is opting for an all-new bespoke hybrid-powered prototype to replace the TS050 HYBRID, compared to Aston's method of producing a car based on the road-going Valkyrie.

"We will have a car on track in June next year, at the earliest," Toyota team boss Rob Leupen told Autosport at the WEC pre-season test in Barcelona.

"Then we probably have a Prologue [test] in August, so we have five or six weeks to go testing."

Leupen ruled out using a mule car until the new hypercar makes it testing debut, adding: "We don't really use a mule car that often anymore.

"A lot is done digitally, modelling the car, and then developing it in the simulator. Our GR Sports Concept doesn't have a lot to do with our race car."

Leupen had described the delays in getting the hypercar regulations firmed up as "ridiculous", and he confirmed it had cost Toyota "a lot of money".

"We would have liked to see it happen earlier," Leupen said. "It's very late, but I'm glad we finally got there. We've worked on many concepts.

"Often they had to be changed because the rules went in a different direction. With our concepts, we tried to support that process, although it cost us a lot of money."

The FIA and WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest projected an annual budget of €30m to compete in the new top-class, based on a five-year commitment.

Leupen does not believe the number is a realistic benchmark for Toyota because of its split operations between Europe and Japan.

But he added that the hypercar regulations will be significantly cheaper than the current LMP1 framework.

"I'm not going to compare [our budget] to the budget the ACO put on the table," he said. "That's not possible because you're working in different countries.

"We are not extremely cost-efficient because our powertrain comes from Japan and we're based in Cologne. If you're very efficient, you're doing everything in one place.

"We're not a great reference, but the new rules are significantly cheaper. We're talking about [savings of] over 50%.

"We used to build a new monocoque every year. If that's 10 million euros every year, then now you can write that off over a period of five years.

"We do get some freedom to develop bits here and there, but there's also a Balance of Performance. Those are massive savings. That's what they wanted and we agree with that."

shares
comments
Toyota LMP1 boss hits out at SMP as it exits the WEC

Previous article

Toyota LMP1 boss hits out at SMP as it exits the WEC

Next article

Spa WEC deal renewed as 2020 FE clash avoided

Spa WEC deal renewed as 2020 FE clash avoided
Load comments
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Plus

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and were considered heavy favourites to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen

Le Mans
Aug 14, 2021
Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Plus

Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally

WEC
Aug 14, 2021