To date, the ACO has run the Le Mans 24 Hoursin Le Mans, France, and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup with races in Europe, the United States and Asia. In March, the ACO and the FIA announced their partnership and the FIA World Endurance Championship to start in 2012. The inaugural year is expected to feature a series of races in Europe, the U.S and Asia, in addition to the Le Mans 24 Hours. In 2012, Toyota will take part in several races of the FIA World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans 24 Hours with a prototype “LMP1” car featuring a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. Further details of the participation such as team name, drivers and participating races will be disclosed in due course.
To mark the announcement, Toyota’s executive in charge of its motorsports activities, Senior Managing Officer Tadashi Yamashina, said: “We have competed in Le Mans before, but by using our hybrid technology, our participation in 2012 will be completely new. We want to make history in the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as in the FIA World Endurance Championship, through use of our hybrid technology. In addition, we aim to learn from the experience of competing in such a challenging motorsport environment to enhance our production-car technology. We thank the ACO and the FIA for their input and assistance.”
Since 1923, the Le Mans 24-Hours race has been the greatest test bed for the major car manufacturers, and has led to an incredible number of innovations that were revolutionary at the time of their appearance. These innovations have now become part of everyday motoring. These include windscreen wipers and disc brakes, which contribute not only to improving mobility, but also to saving lives thanks to a reduction in the number of accidents on roads throughout the world.