The 48th edition of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring was initially scheduled to take place this month. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race has been postponed to the weekend of September 26-27. As most teams begin to prepare their cars for one of the toughest races in the World Endurance Championship calendar, one major team has announced that they will not be participating in this year’s race – Toyota.
Toyota Gazoo Racing officially announced that they will no longer be joining this year's 24 Hours of Nurburgring come September. This would mark the first time in 13 consecutive years that the Japanese automaker will not be taking part in the endurance race since they first joined in 2007.
According to the team, the global spread of COVID-19, which resulted in travel restrictions, has made it impossible to prepare their vehicles for the upcoming race. At the same time, it also had a substantial impact on the development of their Lexus LC race car.
“The other day, a friend who lives in Nürburg sent me a photograph of the ‘Nürburg cherry blossoms’―beautiful flowers that bloomed again this year. 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. Even in these adverse circumstances, and although I am far away in Japan, while looking at the photograph I once again pledged to continue making ever-better cars,” said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation.
Despite pulling out from the 2020 race, Toyota says they will continue to compete in the 2021 Nurburging 24 Hour race. With their free time, the team now plans to use their extra free time to prepare their car and drivers for next year’s race, which is scheduled to take place in June.
Though we won’t see the Japanese auto giant at the 2020 Nurburgring 24 Hours, hopefully with the extra time they have, we will see them at the top of the podium at next year’s race.