WEC LMP1 technology cut could prompt Toyota exit

Toyota would be unlikely to continue in the World Endurance Championship if the LMP1 rules were to scale back the scope of hybrid technology

WEC LMP1 technology cut could prompt Toyota exit

Pascal Vasselon, Toyota Motorsport GmbH's technical director, explained that the Japanese manufacturer's desire to develop energy-retrieval systems in a racing environment meant a retrograde step in the regulations could preclude its involvement in the WEC.

Toyota has no extra budget for third Le Mans car

"The main reason for Toyota to participate in the WEC is to develop technology and specifically hybrid technology, so it would be nearly impossible for Toyota to accept a step backwards," Vasselon told Autosport.

"Developing hybrid technology is the raison d'etre of the programme."

Vasselon stated that there was "no end point" to Toyota's WEC programme, although it is officially only confirmed up to the end of 2017.

His comments come in the wake of a rules freeze for hybrid LMP1 cars until the end of 2019 and an imminent start to discussions about a new set of rules for '20.

Those discussions, led by the FIA and WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, will be wide ranging and will focus on a major cost-reduction aimed at encouraging new manufacturers to join the LMP1 field.

ACO sporting director Vincent Beaumesnil said: "Nothing is agreed and nothing is decided - we want to discuss all possibilities in order to have a massive cost reduction for 2020."

Peugeot has stated its interest in returning to the LMP1 ranks, but only if there is a major reduction in costs.

It is known to favour reducing the scope of hybrid technology, which could involve cutting the number of energy-retrieval systems allowed from two to one and the amount of energy that can be deployed each lap.

Vasselon explained that the task of the rule-making working groups, which will involve Toyota and Porsche, would be to "find a solution where everyone can find a level where they want to compete and still have close competition".

This would likely involve revisions to the so-called 'Appendix B' table that sets the Equivalence of Technology for cars running different fuels and in different hybrid classes.

A raft of measures to encourage new manufacturers have already been introduced for 2017.

They include an increased per-lap fuel allocation and the removal of limitations on the number of engines and aerodynamic configurations that can be used each season.

The rules freeze followed the announcement of Audi's withdrawal from the WEC last October.

New regulations allowing for a third hybrid system and the creation of a new 10 megajoule class above the existing upper 8MJ division had been due to come into force for 2018.

shares
comments
Porsche tightlipped on aero package for WEC opener at Silverstone

Previous article

Porsche tightlipped on aero package for WEC opener at Silverstone

Next article

WEC 2017: GP2 race winner Lynn favourite for last G-Drive LMP2 seat

WEC 2017: GP2 race winner Lynn favourite for last G-Drive LMP2 seat
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Plus

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak Plus

How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak

The World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 HYBRID remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 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
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear Plus

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021