Toyota GAZOO Racing has elected to withdraw from this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours, citing the effects of the pandemic as a primary factor. However, the team vows to return to The Green Hell in 2021.
Earlier this year, Toyota announced plans to compete in this year’s event with a Lexus LC in the SP-PRO class.
The entry was to be shared by two-time Super Formula champion Hiroaki Ishiura, reigning SUPER GT champion Kazuya Oshima, Masahiro Sasaki and Naoya Gamou.
However, Toyota announced its withdrawal in a statement issued on Thursday, ending a streak of 13 successive appearances in the race.
Toyota said that the travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world meant that it did not have enough opportunities to test the new developments on the LC, including a newly-developed twin-turbo V8 engine.
Toyota president Akio Toyoda expressed disappointment regarding the withdrawal, though admitted safety was paramount.
“For the past 13 years, every year, the team and I have prayed for safety and pledged to make ever-better cars in front of those cherry blossoms before the race. We are unable to do so this year, and my disappointment is immense.
“We have chosen not to participate in this year’s race. However, together with all our mechanics, engineers, professional drivers, suppliers, sponsors, and partners, we will continue to take on the challenges of making ever-better cars.
“It is my hope that all our fans continue to watch over our activities and continue lending their tremendous support.”
This year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours will take place on September 24-27, one week after the 24 Hours of Le Mans.