Toyota Returns to Racing at LeMans … in a Hybrid?

Since Toyota’s withdrawal from Formula 1 racing in 2009, it seems, there has been talk about the company’s return to competition – and this photo, above, has only thrown more fuel on the speculative fires.

The LMP1-class chassis is built by Japanese constructor Dome, and seems to be a development of the Dome S101 and S102 chassis that Toyota has been using at its private test tracks in Japan since 2008.  According to Autosport, the car shown above was commissioned by Toyota, and “is known to incorporate hybrid technology and comply with the 2011 prototype technical regulations”, although it is not immediately clear if the hybrid tech is KERS-based (similar to what is employed by Porsche GT cars and virtually all the 2011 Formula 1 teams), but the smart money is there, on the basis of Toyota’s already considerable investment in KERS for their (now-defunct) Formula 1 program.

If the rumors are true, Toyota would join the prototype racing battle against Audi and Peugeot (whose diesel-engined racers have been the dominant force in endurance racing for several years) as well as Mazda, Nissan, and Aston Martin in 2012’s LMP1 class.

Source:  Autosport.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.