By winning three of the eight races in this year’s World Endurance Championship, Toyota showed the racing world that it was serious about a return to professional motorsports. But Toyota is playing coy when it comes to a return to the prestigious Formula One series…though upcoming rule changes could bring Toyota back to F1.
When asked by a reporter if Toyota planned a return to Formula One, Toyota’s Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise said;
“ First, we’ll need to raise the profile of our hybrid vehicles through the WEC races and accumulate more technological expertise. Next year, we want to win the WEC’s Le Mans 24-hour race in France. We’re preparing for that now.”
In other words, if Toyota’s TS030 hybrid race car program proves dominate enough in the WEC next year, then a return to Formula One could be in the cards as well.
As it just so happens, Formula One is working on some new rule changes that would really benefit Toyota’s hybrid racing program. The rule change, to take place in 2014, would increase the capacity for the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) system used in the racing hybrids from 60 kw to 120 kw. The WEC currently limits KERS systems to just 60 kw (about 80 horsepower) as well.
Toyota dropped out of Formula One in 2009 after eight years of unsuccessful racing, though their excuse was that the sport elitist and out of touch with consumers. Yet Toyota may be on the path to changing its mind, despite a destructive debut of its hybrid race cars at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
For what it’s worth though, I find series like the WEC and American Le Mans far more entertaining than the pretty boys of F1. Experimental cars like the Toyota TS030 and the Nissan DeltaWing captivate me more than anything…but that’s just me. Formula One has a huge fan base and a prestigious history; Toyota could definitely get the word out about its racing hybrids with a F1 entry.
Source: The Truth About Cars