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Toyota prepping hybrid challenger for 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours

Japan's largest automaker has confirmed it's working on a new hybrid-powered race car that will compete in several 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship events, including the Le Mans 24 Hours. Few details about this new Toyota LMP1-category prototype have been revealed, but it will   be developed and campaigned by the Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Cologne, Germany, and use a gasoline/electric powertrain supplied by Toyota Motor Corporation. The still unnamed coupe will have its official roll-out later this year and is set to begin on-track testing early in 2012. It's been 13 years since Toyota last fielded a factory-backed entry in the classic 24 hour endurance race when its GT-One competed there in 1998-1999.

In making the announcement, Tadashi Yamashina, Toyota Motor Corporation Senior Managing Officer and TMG Chairman, said: "Toyota Motor Corporation has entered Le Mans before, but by using our hybrid technology this time will be a completely new challenge. We want to write a new page in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours -- as well as in the FIA World Endurance Championship -- through our use of hybrid technology. In addition, we aim to learn from the experience of competing in such a challenging motorsport environment to enhance our production car technology."

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