Toyota: Third Le Mans car with Porsche 'logical' after Audi exit

Toyota believes it would be "logical" for both it and Porsche to run three cars at next year's Le Mans 24 Hours in the wake of Audi's withdrawal from the LMP1 ranks

Toyota: Third Le Mans car with Porsche 'logical' after Audi exit

Pascal Vasselon, technical director of Toyota Motorsport GmbH, made the claim without committing the Japanese manufacturer to increasing its Le Mans campaign from two to three cars for the first time since returning to top-flight sportscar racing in 2012.

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"If anything it would be logical for Porsche and Toyota to race with three cars each now that Audi is going," he told Autosport.

"But there is no decision made and the withdrawal of Audi has not changed anything."

Toyota insiders have revealed that a decision in favour of a third car in the blue riband round of the World Endurance Championship is more likely in 2017 than in previous years.

Any confirmation is not due until January when Toyota traditionally announces its motorsport programmes for the coming season.

Toyota will add three-time World Touring Car champion and Formula E driver Jose Maria Lopez to its ranks in 2017.

Porsche has stated that there is no plan at the moment to revert to the three-car set-up with which it triumphed at Le Mans in 2015.

But LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl admitted that there were ongoing talks with Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l'Ouest on the subject.

"Our programme hasn't changed: we will run two cars for the same reasons as this year," he explained.

"Of course, there are discussions following Audi's announcement with Pierre Fillon and Gerard Neveu [the respective bosses of the ACO and the WEC]."

Fillon and Neveu have denied that they are exerting any pressure on the two remaining LMP1 manufacturers to run third cars at Le Mans next year.

Nevau said: "It doesn't work like that; we are only working for the best interests of the competitor.

"If it is in their interest to have three cars then Pierre will help them [by granting entries], but if it is in their best interest to have two cars we will accept the fact."

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