TOYOTA's Le Mans Challenge

2013 FIA World Endurance Championship(WEC)

TOYOTA Staged Numerous Racing Dramas

1980 to 1986

TOYOTA has a long history of taking on the challenge of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Including the participation of privateers with TOYOTA cars, this history started as early as 1980 when a TOYOTA Celica (LB Turbo) was entered by Team TOM'S. When TOM'S returned to take on Le Mans again in 1985, it was with the Group C car: TOM'S 85C-L Toyota. After TOM'S 1986 efforts, TOYOTA took over in 1987 to start its official involvement with Le Mans.


1987 to 1992

TOYOTA developed the 87C in 1987, the 88C in 1988, and in 1989, the boldly-modified 89C-V. In the 1989 qualifying, the team clocked a time that should have secured pole position, but qualifying times set by spare cars were determined to be void, and the time was subsequently beaten anyway. However, this served as an opportunity for TOYOTA to make a grand impression through its competitiveness at Le Mans.

The next year, the company achieved its first top-six finish with the 90C-V. With the heavy revision of the technical regulations in 1991, TOYOTA developed the brand-new TS010. The 1992 Le Mans is remembered for TOYOTA to go down to the wire with Peugeot, which resulted in the runner-up success for TOYOTA, and its first appearance on the podium.



During the ban of turbo engines in Le Mans, the 91C-V was evolved into the 92C-V and then the 94C-V in the Japanese Championship. In 1994, the turbo was allowed to compete again thanks to a revision in the regulations, and TOYOTA entrusted Team SARD for their entry in the race. However, it suffered bitterly as victory eluded it just when it seemed within reach. The car had a gearbox problem.

1998 to 1999

Later, TOYOTA continued participating with the Supra even after Le Mans' regulations changed to require GT class cars, but it didn't get fully involved again until it set its sights on victory in 1998. TOYOTA poured effort into developing the TS020, which pursued the limits of GT regulations. And in 1999, the second year that the TS020 was entered, Ukyo Katayama, Toshio Suzuki and Keiichi Tsuchiya driving the TS020 (Car No.3) fought hard for an overall win. Sadly, it ended with a near-miss and a runner-up finish, but their indefatigable Japanese spirit and sheer commitment to winning impressed fans all over the world.



After that, TOYOTA switched their focus of racing activity to Formula One, but in 2012, many TOYOTA supporters were thrilled to see it return to Le Mans. TOYOTA made its WEC debut in the top LMP1 class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012. Toyota Racing's prepared car was the TS030 HYBRID, which featured the 'TOYOTA HYBRID System - Racing (THS-R)', including a storage battery called a capacitor which allows the input and output of large amounts of energy in a short time. Energy recovery and discharge are conducted by the Motor Generator Unit (MGU) on the rear wheels, which augments the mid-mounted normally-aspirated 3.4 litre V8 engine to power the rear wheels. TOYOTA has accumulated a lot of experience with hybrid systems through its production models, and this THS-R was born from the essence of its hybrid technology. With the unlimited potential of hybrid powertrains in mind, development in the gruelling world of endurance racing, partly based on the feedback of developers progressing production vehicles for the market, continues. TOYOTA Racing's attempt at a big challenge in the debut race ended up a bitter defeat as both cars failed to make the finish with one in an unfortunate big shunt. But overall, they did really well for the first try claiming 3 victories - Sao Paulo 6 Hours, Fuji 6 Hours and Shanghai 6 Hours - in just 6 races.



TOYOTA Racing made an appearance in the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the opening race of the 2013 season, with the TS030 HYBRID from the previous year finishing in the points on 3rd and 4th. The second six-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps saw TOYOTA entering two cars: a single new version car for 2013, and one of the existing cars. The new car used an improved powertrain and chassis to achieve greater performance, reliability and serviceability. On top of that, the evolved aerodynamics package even led to an updated monocoque. The 2013 regulations imposed an increase of 15kg in the minimum weight of the works LMP1 cars, but the new TS030 HYBRID kept that effect to a minimum and improved performance once again.