Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed its participation in the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) ‘Superseason’ with two cars.
Following the pull-out of Audi and Porsche from the LMP1 category of the endurance championship, Toyota committed itself to the series by racing as the sole top-end manufacturer in the revamped 2018/19 season.
It fielded only two TS050 HYBRID cars though – in WEC as well as Le Mans 24 Hours – with the #7 driven by Jose Maria Lopez, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi, while the sister #8 car had Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso.
The Japanese manufacturer finally won the Le Mans race after years of trying with the #8 car in 2018 in a historic Toyota 1-2 and is to defend its crown in 2019, which will also mark the end of the current 2018/19 superseason.
While it prepares for a move towards ‘Hypercar’ rules in 2020, the current regulations continue in 2019/20 season for which Toyota has so far confirmed its desire to compete with two cars through its announcement on Thursday.
“Toyota Gazoo Racing will compete in the 2019-2020 WEC season with two TS050 HYBRID models,” it read. “The eight-round season will begin with the 4 Hours of Silverstone on September 1 2019 and concludes with the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 13-14 2020.
“The driver line-up will be announced at a later date.” The driver line-up will be key going forward as it depends on Alonso, who hasn’t made up his mind regarding continuing in the sportscar racing beyond the current deal.
The Spaniard’s primary goal was to win the Le Mans 24 Hours race which he has and looks likely to take the drivers’ crown as well. The likes of Buemi, Nakajima and Kobayashi should continue on with Toyota while Conway and Lopez’s seat could be up for discussion.
Check: Calendar for 2019/20 WEC season