Toyota Explores Satellite Car Option for Future WEC Campaigns

    In a move that could shake up the World Endurance Championship (WEC) landscape, Japanese manufacturer Toyota has revealed that it is considering running a third car on a satellite basis, mirroring the strategy employed by arch-rival Ferrari in the Hypercar class.

    Toyota WEC race director Rob Leupen disclosed that while the possibility of an additional full-season entry in the Hypercar category is being explored, it would not be feasible for the 2025 season. “If we were going to do it next year, we would have had to have made the decision already, and at the moment nothing is decided,” Leupen told Autosport.

    The lead time required to build and set up the infrastructure for an extra car makes it unlikely that a third GR010 Hybrid would join the WEC grid before 2026. “It cannot be a short-term decision because we know what the lead times for all the components would be in the current circumstances,” Leupen explained.

    Leupen expressed admiration for Ferrari’s approach, stating, “We see what Ferrari is doing with its customer or satellite car, and we like that.” The factory AF Corse team currently runs an additional 499P LMH for customer drivers Robert Kubica, Yifei Ye, and Robert Shwartzman.

    However, Leupen stressed that the complexities of a four-wheel-drive LMH like the Toyota GR010 Hybrid would make a customer program more challenging compared to Porsche’s approach of selling its 963 LMDh to privateer teams.

    “We see what Ferrari is doing with its customer or satellite car, and we like that.”

    The WEC grid is expected to expand to 40 cars next year, with the arrival of Aston Martin’s two Valkyrie LMHs and potential expansions of the Cadillac, Lamborghini, and Isotta Fraschini Hypercar programs. Leupen hinted that there could be room for an additional Toyota, citing the number of cars fielded by Porsche and Ferrari.

    Interestingly, Leupen also revealed that there could be an overlap between the GR010 LMH and the hydrogen combustion prototype Toyota is planning to develop, with the new hydrogen class set for introduction into the WEC no earlier than 2027.

    As the WEC landscape continues to evolve, Toyota’s exploration of a satellite car program could have significant implications for the future of the championship and the competition among the Hypercar manufacturers.

    ๐Ÿ”— Source