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Toyota lays out its future in international auto racing

Toyota Motor Corp. will make use of its hybrid gas-electric car technology when it enters cars in the fledgling Federation Internationale de l’Automobile World Endurance Championship in 2012. The maiden series includes the famous Le Mans 24 Hours race.

“We have competed in Le Mans before, but by using our hybrid technology, our participation in 2012 will be completely new. We want to make history in the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as in the FIA World Endurance Championship, through use of our hybrid technology," said Tadashi Yamashina, senior managing officer in charge of Toyota motorsports.

"In addition, we aim to learn from the experience of competing in such a challenging motorsport environment to enhance our production-car technology. We thank the ACO and the FIA for their input and assistance.”

This is the first year of the international endurance race series created through a partnership between the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.

To date, the ACO has run the Le Mans 24 Hours in Le Mans, France, and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, with races in Europe, the United States and Asia.

In March, ACO and FIA announced their partnership and the FIA World Endurance Championship to start in 2012. The inaugural year is expected to feature a series of races in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, in addition to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

In 2012, Toyota will take part in several races of the FIA World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans 24 Hours,

Toyota's car is a prototype LMP1 featuring a gas-electric hybrid powertrain. Team names, drivers and what races will be entered will be disclosed later, Toyota said in a statement.

You can teach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected] or (248) 747-1550. Follow him on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.

Image source: Wikipedia