Le Mans Champions Toyota Racing is preparing for a last hurrah in the upcoming WEC (World Endurance Championship) season and Le Mans. The squad of course captured the WEC titles and Le Mans without major challenges from factory-backed squads. In the new season, they wish to make it three-in-a-row at the Le Mans. Toyota Racing made their debut in the WEC in 2016.
The new season 2019/20 will feature eight races, spanning the UK, USA, South America, Asia and Middle-east. The shakedown or prologue is scheduled for 1 September at the Silverstone track. Toyota Racing is an obvious favorite without an obvious rival for a third consecutive title. The 2018 TS050 Hybrid became the first Toyota to win a Le Mans race. They are, however, not the first Japanese manufacturer to win that honor; that honor belongs to Mazda in 1991. Still, Toyota holds the honor of winning the Le Mans twice, and they’re now gunning for a three-peat.
For the new season, the same LMP1 car Toyota uses gets some modifications with revised aerodynamics and further fine-tuning of mechanical parts for reliability. The pilots confirmed for the new season are returnees, with the exception of former Le Mans winner Brendon Hartley, who’d a stint at Porsche in its heydays. Car no.7 once again has Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López at the helm. Sister car no.8 is driven by Hartley, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. Meanwhile, Thomas Laurent is the test and reserve driver and will share driving duties with Signatech Alpine in an LMP2 racer.
Lopez remarked. “Mike, Kamui and I have one objective and that is to win races and the championship – and to take revenge at Le Mans. The new regulations for 2020-2021 are very exciting and we look forward to racing against other manufacturers again, which will be fun. But the downforce, the speed, the power of the TS050 Hybrid is amazing and I am sure that one day I will say that I was lucky to have the opportunity to race such a car.”
Hartley, the newbie, commented, “I fell in love with Le Mans when I first raced there in 2012 so, after missing two years, I can’t wait to return. Since Le Mans I had my first real test in the TS050 Hybrid and I am already feeling at home in the car and up to speed. My goals are always personal rather than results based.”
It all starts with the prologue, 4 Hours of Silverstone, then the first of eight races on four continents featuring a combined 66 hours of racing on historic tracks such as Sebring, Spa-Francorchamps and Fuji Speedway, ending at Le Mans on 13-14 June 2020.
2019-2020 WEC Calendar
1 September 4 Hours of Silverstone
6 October 6 Hours of Fuji
10 November 4 Hours of Shanghai
14 December 8 Hours of Bahrain
1 February 6 Hours of Sao Paulo
20 March 1000 Miles of Sebring
2 May 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
13-14 June Le Mans 24 Hours