Toyota president 'disappointed' Porsche will quit LMP1 division
|By Jamie Klein||Friday, July 28th 2017, 10:33 GMT|
Toyota president Akio Toyoda says he is "sad and disappointed" Porsche will withdraw from the World Endurance Championship's LMP1 division.
Porsche confirmed on Friday morning it will exit the top class of the sportscar racing and followed Mercedes in announcing a works Formula E programme from 2019/20.
It leaves Toyota as the only manufacturer currently committed to the LMP1 class from next season, having been a mainstay of the WEC since its inception in 2012.
However, it is understood that Toyota could reconsider its 2018 programme in the wake of Porsche quitting.
"I felt that it was very unfortunate when I heard that Porsche decided to withdraw from the LMP1 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship racing series," said Toyoda.
"At last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans race, we were honoured that Porsche considered Toyota as a rival. It was a great battle as we fought against each other for victory.
"Looking toward this year's series, we aimed to rise to and even surpass Porsche's challenge.
"Those thoughts drove us to work harder and put forth our best efforts in realising new technologies and skills.
"At this year's Le Mans, I again had the opportunity to meet and talk with Dr [Wolfgang] Porsche. He told me that, much like us, his company participates in motorsport to enhance its production cars.
"As a car maker that has been doing such for a very long time, Porsche deserves a great deal of respect.
"I feel very sad and disappointed that we will no longer be able to pit our technologies against such a company on the same battleground next year."
Toyota has taken two WEC victories so far this season with Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, who lie 30 points behind the best of the Porsche crews in the standings following July's Nurburgring round.
It is still yet to win the Le Mans 24 Hours, whereas Porsche claimed its third straight victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe earlier this year.
Toyota's attempt was foiled by mechanical issues on its two full-season WEC cars and its third entry being involved in a race-ending incident with an LMP2 car.