In a surprise move, Toyota has withdrawn from the WEC round at Spa-Francorchamps scheduled for May 5. Sources at Toyota revealed that one of the Toyota prototypes with Nicolas Lapierre at the wheel experienced an accident that required the team writing off that particular tub. As a result, the team won't be ready to go by Spa.
For Audi this means a walk in the park at Spa. For Toyota this means that their new hybrid P1 won't turn a wheel a wheel under racing conditions until the 24 Hours of Le Mans... hardly optimum to assure a strong showing at this all-important race.
Below is the Toyota press release. Thanks to Allan McNish for the tip.
After an accident in private testing, Toyota are not able to race their TS030 Hybrid prototype on the 5th May at the WEC Spa-Francorchamps 6 hours.
On Wednesday 4th April, during testing at Circuit Paul Ricard, Nicolas Lapierre had an accident at the wheel of the Toyota TS030 Hybrid. The monocoque chassis can not be repaired, and the manufacturer will not not participate in the WEC Spa-Francorchamps 6 hours on the 5th of May as expected.
It will therefore be at the Le Mans 24 Hours on the 16th and 17th June when the new prototype will make its début in competition. Two Toyota TS030 Hybrids are entered for the 24 hours.
Yoshiaki Kino****a, TOYOTA Racing Team President: “We are deeply saddened to announce this decision and our sympathies are with the drivers, team members and fans who have been anticipating the Spa race so eagerly. Since the accident we have looked into all options but unfortunately there is no alternative course of action open to us.”