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Toyota has announced that it will make a return to the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race next year, and it will do so with a new hybrid-powered car.

Its return to Le Mans, where it last competed as a manufacturer in the late 1990s running the GT-One, will be with a new LMP1 chassis that will be designed, developed and produced by Toyota Motorsport in Germany, equipped with a hybrid petrol powertrain engineered by Toyota in Japan.

Le Mans will be just one of a number of races Toyota proposes to enter in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, where it is seeking to further explore the potential of its hybrid technology through competition.

The new team will be based at Toyota Motorsport’s Cologne headquarters, and the LMP1-based race car will be rolled out in early 2012 for an extensive pre-season testing programme.