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Toyota promotes LMP1 powertrain chief to its top motorsport role

Hisatake Murata

The mastermind behind Toyota's LMP1 hybrid powertrains in the World Endurance Championship has become the new boss of its racing operation in Germany.

Hisatake Murata has been promoted from his position as general manager of motorsport development to become president of Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne.

He also takes the role of team president of Toyota Gazoo Racing, the banner under which the Japanese manufacturer competes in the WEC and the title used for its Tommi Makinen-run World Rally Championship project.

As well as heading the WEC programme, Murata will be responsible for TMG's other business, including research and development projects and the services it offers to customers.

Murata, 53, replaces Toshio Sato, who took over at TMG in 2015.

He has moved to a new role within Toyota's powertrain division.

Murata said: "I am proud to take this new role at TMG.

"Since the beginning of our hybrid LMP1 project, I have built up a strong relationship with TMG members, so I am looking forward to working together even more closely as we push to succeed in all areas."

Toyota Nurburgring WEC 2017

Murata has a long history in motorsport at Toyota since the late 1980s.

He worked on its Group C, CART and IndyCar programmes before heading up the hybrid project that led to its WEC entry.

GARY WATKINS: THe real problem caused by Porsche's exit

The management changes at TMG come at a time when the future of the WEC project is uncertain following rival Porsche's decision to pull out.

Toyota has a firm commitment to racing on in LMP1 into 2018, but has conceded that this was made in the belief that it would have factory opposition.

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