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.
- 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.