Just outside of two years after his arrival at the helm of Toyota Gazoo Racing and Toyota Motorsport GmbH as president, Toshio Sato has been replaced by Hisatake Murata effective immediately, a presence within the LMP1 program since its inception.
Hisatake Murata knows the 24 Hours of Le Mans very well given that he began his trajectory with Toyota back in 1987 as a racing engineer before branching off into ChampCar, the American single-seaters championship that subsequently merged with the IRL to become the IndyCar Series, when the Japanese manufacturer withdrew from endurance racing.
These last years, the Japanese engineer has supervised the development of the hybrid system for the Toyota TS040 and TS050 Hybrid before heading up the Japanese marque's LMP1 program in the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) as well as its Super GT and Super Formula campaigns in Japan.
Hisatake Murata will be able to count on Rob Leupen, the general director, and Pascal Vasselon, technical head, to go after the win long sought after at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After the trophy narrowly evaded the marque in 2016 when the lead car broke down going into the last lap, Toyota then entered three TS050 HYBRIDs for the first time in 2017, but only one crossed the finish line, in eighth place overall. The other two cars were forced to retire after accidents or mechanical breakdowns.
PHOTO (Copyright - Toyota Gazoo Racing): Hisatake Murata has taken over Toyota's sporting branch.