Last month, Porsche announced that they would be quitting the FIA World Endurance Championship to focus on the FIA Formula E Championship ahead of the 2018/19 season. This follows last year’s departure of Audi – who have also recently confirmed their entry into Formula E – leaving Toyota as the only manufacturer in the LMP1 class.
For a team that is spending an estimated €250Million per season, Toyota must explore whether this huge investment is worth their time.
Back in March, Toyota Motorsport’s technical head Pascal Vasselon told Motorsport.com that the automaker would consider leaving WEC should the series focus more on promote electric technology as to the current emphasis on hybrids.
“The main reason for Toyota to participate in the WEC is to develop technology and specifically hybrid, so it would be nearly impossible for Toyota to take a step backwards”, stated the Frenchman.
In June, the WEC announced their regulations changes ahead of the 2020 season, including batteries charging during pitstops and cars to finish each only on electrical power, as well as numerous cost cutting measures and development limitations.
Considering that Toyota aren’t contracted to the series beyond the end of this year, their commitment is vital towards the WEC’s sustainability in the long term.
Ginetta, Perrinn and BR Engineering have all announced plans to join the LMP1 class as privateers for 2018, alongside the existing Bykolles outfit.
Furthermore, these projects are significantly cheaper than that of Toyota’s, with Ginetta stating each of their cars should cost around £2Million apiece; a humongous gulf in development costs.
And with no updates regarding Peugeot’s potential return to WEC since March, the Toyota entry is seemingly becoming more unjustifiable by each passing day.