With Audi and Peugeot dominating the last several Le Mans races using diesel technology to outlast the competition, it seems that the famous French race is becoming the premiere stage for developing and highlighting the latest fuel-saving technology. And why not? Most marketing of new fuel-saving technology highlights the preserved performance and enhanced reliability as much as pure energy savings alone. And leadership in this suite of attributes is about to receive a little more competition, as Toyota announces that
In 2012, Toyota will take part in several races of the FIA World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans 24 Hours, with a prototype “LMP1” car featuring a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.
Get Hyundai on board, and bring BMW’s new i brand into the mix, and the international racing business could be re-energized by the the competition to demonstrate the perfect compromise between performance, reliability and efficiency. As many of the top racing series see declines in viewers and manufacturer participation due to their increasing irrelevance to mass-market vehicles and brands, the golden age of endurance racing could just be dawning.