Toyota Might Leave LMP1 Endurance Racing if Hybrid Push Slows

Who would be left racing in LMP1?

Le Mans 24 Hours
Toyota Racing—Toyota Racing

If the officials behind the World Endurance Championship decide to go light on the push for hybrid tech in the top class of its racing series, Toyota, an important competitor in the program, might back out. 

Pascal Vasselon, Toyota Motorsport's technical head, said that the automaker uses the series for its engineering effort with creating energy-collecting drive systems, and if WEC is no longer the place to do that, it could leave the series, according to Motorsport.com.

"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 said to Motorsport.com. "Developing hybrid technology is the raison d'être of the program."

Toyota is locked into WEC until only the end of 2017, but Vasselon said there is currently "no end point" for the automaker's involvement in the series. 

The FIA, the organization behind WEC, and Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the main supporter behind Le Mans endurance racing, will be engaging in talks soon to discuss new rules for LMP1 cars starting in 2020. The officials are looking to reduce the cost for competing in LMP1 so the class becomes more attractive for outside automakers.

"Nothing is agreed and nothing is decided—we want to discuss all possibilities in order to have a massive cost reduction for 2020," said ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil.

Talks come after Audi Sport's departure from LMP1 endurance racing in October 2016. 

Find the full report from Motorsport.com here.