Toyota may be best known for building conservative cars like the Camry and Corolla, but the automaker actually has a strong racing pedigree that continues to this day. In fact, Toyota’s racing division is so confident in its go-fast abilities that it believes it can best Porsche at one of the most demanding tracks in the world.
The Porsche 919 Evo, a modified version of the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car, currently holds the lap record at the Nurburgring with a time of 5 minutes, 19.546 seconds. That’s obviously a blazing time (besting the previous record set in 1983 by well over a minute), but Toyota thinks it can beat it.
In an interview with Motorsport published last Wednesday, Rob Leupen, Toyota’s LMP1 team boss, boldly proclaimed that a modified version of the company’s TS050 Hybrid racer would be able to get around the famed German circuit faster than the Porsche 919 Hybrid.
"I think this car would be quicker on the Nordschleife than the Porsche,” he said, referring to the TS050 Hybrid.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though Toyota is ready to double down on Leupen's claim. Toyota hasn’t formulated a plan for such an undertaking, let alone allocated funding.
"You need the budget and the strategy to do it, and right now we don’t have that yet,” Leupen admitted.
The deck is also stacked against the TS050 Hybrid since the FIA World Endurance Championship is eliminating its class for the 2020/2021 season, rendering any improvements to the car useless for Toyota’s future racing efforts. Next year, WEC will replace the TS050 Hybrid's LMP1 class with a new hypercar category.