Toyota has denied rumours that it could be set to turn its back on Formula One to focus its attention on a return to sportscar competition.

Earlier in the year, rumours surfaced that Toyota was considering a return to the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time since 1999, when Ukyo Katayama, Keiichi Tsuchiya and Toshio Suzuki finished second at the wheel of the GT-One.

The speculation suggested that the team would use the race to promote its hybrid technology, in much the same way that Audi and Peugeot have used the La Sarthe classic to display their diesel power.

Sources within Toyota are - like many others in the paddock - believed to be against the FIA's plans to introduce a spec-engine into F1 and the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport quoted Toyota F1 team principal as saying that the manufacturer would like to return to Le Mans but it was unlikely it could 'do Formula One and Le Mans in a parallel fashion'.

However, a statement issued by the Cologne-based squad insisted that it remained committed to F1 until 2012 at least with no decision having been taken on possibly expanding its current motorsport activities.

"Toyota is committed to succeeding in Formula 1 for the long-term and our objective in Formula 1 is to win - we exist to win and we are committed to doing that," a statement obtained by ITV-F1 read. "We believe Formula 1 must remain a technological challenge; this is an important point for Toyota and provided this does not change we expect to continue in Formula 1 until at least 2012.

"Toyota has never hidden its interest in considering new motorsport opportunities, including Le Mans, currently no formal plan or decision has been made on changes or additions to the current programmes."


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