After having their Formula One program shut down a couple of years ago by corporate headquarters, Toyota Motorsport has been hunting for a new project ever since. That new project turned out to be the TS030 Hybrid, an advanced Le Mans prototype which they've been gearing up to campaign in the new FIA World Endurance Championship and its headline event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only those plans were set back some – if not ground to a halt – last Wednesday when the only working example of the TS030 crashed while undergoing testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in the South of France.
In the statement after the jump, Toyota doesn't specify exactly what happened or who was driving at the time, but you can be sure he's feeling pretty morose right now, because the chassis was damaged so extensively that the team won't be able to repair it in time for the Six Hours of Spa where the car was supposed to make its race debut on May 5. Toyota does, however, expect to be up and running again in time for Le Mans in June, although whether that will leave the team with enough time to build the two cars it was expecting to field there or have to revert to a single entrant remains to be seen.
TOYOTA Racing regrets to announce that, as a result of a testing accident, it is not able to participate in the WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
During testing at Paul Ricard, on Wednesday 4 April, the TS030 HYBRID was involved in an accident which damaged the team's only monocoque.
Regrettably this damage is too severe to repair. A replacement monocoque cannot be produced and sufficiently tested to ensure reliability within the limited time available.
Therefore TOYOTA Racing has informed the organizers of the FIA World Endurance Championship of its decision to withdraw from the WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, due to be held on 5 May. The team will make its first appearance at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, TOYOTA Racing Team President:
"We are deeply saddened to announce this decision and our sympathies are with the drivers, team members and fans who have been anticipating the Spa race so eagerly. Since the accident we have looked into all options but unfortunately there is no alternative course of action open to us."
TOYOTA Racing will now urgently prepare a new monocoque to allow it to resume testing as soon as possible and prepare itself for the Le Mans 24 Hours.