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NEW LE MANS CHALLENGERS REVEALED

Porsche and Toyota have unveiled their World Endurance Championship challengers at the Prologue event at Monza.

The new Porsche will hope to continue the marks successful season last year that delivered the Manufacturers’, Drivers’ and Porsche’s 18th Le Mans victory.

Porsche also add a number of ne drivers to their LMP1 roster with Neel Jani the only carry over driver from last year’s championship winning crew. Jani will be joined by ex-Audi LMP1 driver Andre Lotterer and 2015 Le Mans winner, Nick Tandy.

The second car will feature Kiwi Earl Bamber replacing the retired Mark Webber in the established line up of Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.

The new car receives a revised black, white and red livery and is powered by the 2.0-litre V4 petrol engine and 8MJ hybrid system. The chassis remains largely unchanged but the new car features several updates compared to last year’s model.

“For the 2017 season, 60 to 70 per cent of the vehicle is newly developed,” said Team Principal Andreas Seidl.

“The basic concept of the 919 Hybrid still offers scope to optimise the finer details and further boost efficiency.

“The monocoque has remained unchanged since 2016, but the optimisation potential of all other components was analysed and, in most cases, adjustments made accordingly.”

Toyota has also revealed the car that they hope delivers a Le Mans crown after last year’s heartbreak.

Three-time World Touring Car champion Jose Maria Lopez joins the squad, driving with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi. Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson return, while a part-time third car will make at appearance with Stephane Sarrazin, Nicolas Lapierre and newcomer Yuji Kunimoto.

Toyota’s new TS050 features a 2.4-litre V6 engine supported by a 8MJ hybrid system, while the car also features updates, Team President Toshio Sato and his squad are motivated to avenge last year and seize victory at Le Mans.

“The whole team is motivated and determined for this season,” said Sato.

“We want to win, there is no doubt about that, but we know it will be an incredibly tough fight with Porsche.

“Having a third car is an additional opportunity and we will do our best to again deliver a great spectacle for the fans at Le Mans. We know from painful experience Le Mans is a very difficult race to win, but that is our target.

“Everything – the car, the team and the drivers – has to work perfectly to achieve our goal. We will see in June if we have done enough.”

Both cars will complete the WEC prologue at Monza this weekend ahead of the first round of the WEC at Silverstone on April 14-16.