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Toyota entries spice up 24 Hours of Le Mans

June 13, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Toyota's new hybrid prototype is making its racing debut this week at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.
Toyota's new hybrid prototype is making its racing debut this week… (Jean-Francois Monier /…)

The 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race kicks off Saturday with an intriguing new addition -- Toyota.

The Japanese automaker is entering two cars in the premier LMP1 division, in which the fastest, most exotic prototype cars compete in the famous endurance race held on the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.

Audi, the division's current powerhouse and defending LMP1 race winner, formerly had a pitched rivalry each year with cars from Peugeot until the French manufacturer withdrew from the series this year.

A key question is whether the new Toyota TS030s will hold up mechanically for 24 hours. But Audi driver Allan McNish told that "they seem to be quite reliable from what I saw from eight hours of testing."

The race starts at 3 p.m. in Le Mans, which is 6 a.m. PDT. Broadcast coverage will be provided by Speed TV and its website.


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