Officials want to boost the image of hybrid technology, especially in Europe where it’s still largely considered a gimmick for environmentalists, reports Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun. "Audi proved the superiority of the next generation diesel engine at Le Mans. Toyota wants to do the same with the hybrid," an unnamed Toyota official told the newspaper. The biggest problem facing Toyota’s engineers is reducing the weight of the drivetrain and increasing efficiency.
Toyota hasn’t competed in the French event since 1999, when its GT1 race car (pictured) came close to coming in second but was forced to retire due to gearbox problems.