Toyota announces entry into the WEC's hypercar new categoryby Ronan Glon
At least 20 street-legal examples will be made.
Aston Martin was the first automaker to formally announce its entry into the World Endurance Championship's new hypercar category, which will replace LMP1 during the 2020-2021 season. Toyota quickly stepped up to challenge the British firm; it pledged to have its own hypercar ready in time for the start of the season.
Toyota's entry into the hypercar category will be a gasoline-electric prototype (pictured) based on the GR Super Sport we've already seen as a close-to-production concept car. Technical details remain under wraps, but the hybrid powertrain's output could stand in the vicinity of 1,000 horsepower.
In the past, the LMP1 prototypes have been just that: prototypes developed exclusively for racing. With the hypercar category, the WEC wants to establish a link between race cars and production cars. To that end, manufacturers -- including Toyota -- will need to sell at least 20 road-legal examples of their hypercar-spec model during a two-year period to obtain its homologation. The Japanese firm explained the road car and the race car will be developed together.
Aston Martin and Toyota likely won't compete on their own. While they're the only two companies that have announced their intent to race a hypercar as of June 2019, we expect the category will attract several other automakers, including McLaren, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari. The first race is scheduled to take place in the fall of 2020, so companies have plenty of time to announce -- and prepare -- their entry.
In the meantime, Toyota remains committed to the LMP1 category. It will return to the starting grid during the 2019-2020 season, which will be LMP1's last.