When Toyota announced its return to endurance sports car racing with the new TS030 Hybrid this season, the plan was to enter a handful of races, like Le Mans and Spa-Francorchamps, on an invitational basis.

Plans change, though, and Toyota has now upgraded the program to a full manufacturer entry, paving the way for it to compete in the entire FIA World Endurance Championship schedule. Now, with budget constraints, it's likely that Toyota will still pick and choose which races to contest, but it does open the door.

The change was apparently made in order to support endurance racing as a motorsport discipline. As part of its arrangement with the FIA, organizers at the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) need at least two manufacturers in the LMP1 category. With Peugeot's withdrawal, the series lacked the requisite level of participation, so Toyota stepped up to fill the void. Follow the jump for the full announcement.
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- Toyota Racing enters 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship
- Toyota TS030 Hybrid to make debut at the Six Hours of Spa Francorchamps on 5 May
- Two-car entry for Le Mans 24 Hours

Toyota Racing has expanded its plans for the 2012 season and entered the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The team had originally planned only to take part in selected races – fewer than required to be considered a full-time entrant – but revised its programme after unexpected changes faced by the championship. This means the Toyota TS030 Hybrid will make its racing debut at the Six Hours of Spa Francorchamps on 5 May.

Toyota Racing has also confirmed it will enter two cars for the Le Mans 24 Hours on 16/17 June. The regular driver line-up of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazui Nakajima are confirmed for the race, with details of the line-up for the additional car to be announced shortly.

Yoshiaki Kinoshita, team president, said: "The circumstances for the championship changed suddenly in recent weeks and Toyota Racing considers it important to work together with the FIA and ACO to establish a successful future for endurance racing. We have done everything we can to show our support and we look forward to an exciting season, including the opportunity to race two cars at Le Mans.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Alex C
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sad that Peugeot didn't allow private 908 entries for this year to make up for their factory team absence. Audi, Peugeot and Toyota would've made for a great race.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alex C
        The only two teams with experience with the 908 are running other programs. Oreca - Toyota and Persacrolo - Dome S102.5 and a Frankenstein AMR-One.
      • 3 Years Ago
      could they please upgrade the ugly?
        • 3 Years Ago
        How does this look any uglier than any other closed cockpit LMP1 in like the past decade?
          • 3 Years Ago
          The 908's are by far the best looking LMP1 cars of late. That Aston was gorgeous as well and the Audis, esp the R18 look so evil. This Toyota is not as good looking as these other cars, but not really ugly...well those lights are.
      - v o c t u s -
      • 3 Years Ago
      Please someone tell me the name of that god damn stupid mother effing flat vertical slab of nonsense reaching from the cockpit to the spoiler on all these closed prototypes now. I'd google it... if I knew the name. I want to malign it publicly but I need a name. thank you so much
        • 3 Years Ago
        @- v o c t u s -
        Vertical stabilizer? Serves the same purpose as the vertical stabilizer on aircraft. It's fairly obvious to see that it damps vehicle yaw, so it suppresses yaw instability, such as spin. It may look retarded, but it's there for a reason.
        Bruce Lee
        • 3 Years Ago
        @- v o c t u s -
        That big stupid looking fin stops people from going airborne and dying so like it or not it's gonna stay around. I don't know about you but I don't want racecar drivers dying just for the sake of the look of a racecar.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @- v o c t u s -
        Shark fin, shark engine cover, etc.
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