Rumour: Toyota Might Be Entering Indycar
The mill has started for the future of America's great open-wheel class
Come 2023, IndyCar will be a hybrid-power series too. Testing has begun for the powertrain, but between Honda and Chevy, it's a bit of an empty party. Unless...
Chevrolet and Honda will begin testing their new 2.4-litre IndyCar engines next spring, as the series prepares for the introduction of hybrid power from 2023.
Veteran motorsports journalist Marshall Pruett of Racer.com has traced the rumours back to French commentators during their broadcast of this year's Grand Prix of Long Beach. This isn't much to go off of, but it's still rather surprising that a spitball idea like this may take shape.
Naturally, Toyota US is giving a non-answer. “Toyota and TRD are always having discussions within the garages that we currently compete as well as with other sanctioning bodies to ensure we keep up relationships and maintain a finger on the pulse of U.S. motorsports,” said TRD president Dave Wilson. He added that right now, they're focused on the series where TRD is participating, which includes NASCAR, MSA and NHRA.
There is, however, some precedent if Toyota wants to come back to Indycar. Because they've been here before: Gil de Ferran had a Toyota engine when he won the 2003 Indy 500 while Cristiano da Matta bagged the 2002 CART title under Toyota power. And with bona fides both in the US and the rest of the world (remember the Eagle GTP?), Toyota is more prepared than one might think.
Still, it remains to be seen whether or not Toyota will prove the rumours right or wrong -- they're pretty busy, after all, and I haven't found any follow-up on this all October. But given that even Honda and Chevy have wanted a third supplier and the new hybrid regs are explicitly made to attract new ones to a steadily-resurging sport, it's not an opportunity that anyone will want to miss.