Toyota confirm third car for 2017

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Toy­ota Gazoo Rac­ing have announced a num­ber of changes to their LMP1 pro­gramme in the run-up to the 2017 sea­son, with new addi­tions to the dri­ver line-up and three cars con­firmed to run at Spa and Le Mans for the first time since join­ing the FIA WEC in 2012.

With last year’s heart­break­ing con­clu­sion to the 24 Hours of Le Mans still fresh in the mind, Toy­ota have upped their com­mit­ment to the famous race this year by announc­ing the entry of a third car at La Sarthe. This tac­tic has been suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed in the past by Toyota’s LMP1 rivals, most recent­ly in 2015, when Porsche’s third car took the over­all win. The addi­tion­al entry will run at round two of the sea­son at Spa-Fran­cor­champs and at round three, the endurance clas­sic at Le Mans and will be anchored by Toy­ota stal­wart Stéphane Sar­razin and two as-yet unnamed dri­vers.

Sarrazin’s replace­ment in one of Toy­ota Gazoo Racing’s two full-sea­son entries is three-time World Tour­ing Car cham­pi­on José Maria Lopez, who will part­ner up with Mike Con­way and Kamui Kobayashi, who fin­ished third in the dri­vers’ cham­pi­onship last sea­son. Sébastien Bue­mi, Antho­ny David­son and Kazu­ki Naka­ji­ma, who missed out on Le Mans glo­ry at the death in 2016, will con­tin­ue to dri­ve the sis­ter car.

Toy­ota return to the FIA WEC in 2017 with a new and improved ver­sion of the TS050 Hybrid, which fea­tures an updat­ed THS-R pow­er­train with even greater rel­e­vance to the company’s road-going mod­els. The 2.4 litre V6 engine has also been giv­en an over­haul, as have engine, gen­er­a­tor and bat­tery com­po­nents.

Source: Toy­ota Gazoo Rac­ing
Image © WEC-Mag­a­zin