Toyota: Road car styled LMP1 plan will brings manufacturers to WEC

Toyota says proposals to make future LMP1 cars look more like high-performance road cars have generated "a lot of interest" in the World Endurance Championship's top class among manufacturers

Toyota: Road car styled LMP1 plan will brings manufacturers to WEC

Fading manufacturer interest in LMP1 has resulted in the WEC rulemakers the FIA and the ACO holding a series of meetings to create new regulations for the 2020/21 season.

A potential push to create cars similar in style to the GT Prototypes of the late 1990s (pictured above) has received positive initial feedback, with McLaren CEO Zak Brown indicating a "strong interest" in pursuing this direction.

Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon said discussions that could attract more factory LMP1 participants were encouraging for the category's future.

"Clearly the direction [of the rules] is towards GT-looking cars, something we feel is positive and it's giving momentum to the category," said Vasselon.

"It's true that with standard LMP1 cars, not visually identifiable, there were not many manufacturers interested.

"When you start talking about sportscar-looking prototypes, then it seems there is a lot of interest. There is a positive momentum at the moment."

Asked if the proposals would mean cars bearing a stronger resemblance to road cars than the DPi formula used in the IMSA SportsCar Championship (pictured below), he replied: "It's a bit early, but the target would be yes, a bit closer.

"This we need to go into detail, all these factors that make the car look like a GT or not."

Toyota Motorsport GmbH president Hisatake Murata appeared to confirm during last month's WEC's end-of-season gala that Toyota will remain involved in the series next season, following hints it is prepared to commit to sportscar racing long-term.

Vasselon said Toyota would consider new rules "a success" as long as it had one factory rival in the top division, and believes the presence of three or more manufacturers is possible.

As well as Toyota, both McLaren and Porsche - despite its decision to quit LMP1 this season - are among the other manufacturers that have taken part in discussions about the 2020/21 rules.

"At the moment it looks like it could be more than two," said Vasselon.

"It's easy to say at the moment 'we are interested', but there is clearly more momentum now than one month ago."

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