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Toyota appoints new WEC LMP1 team president

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Toyota has appointed Hisatake Murata as the new president of its LMP1 team in the FIA World Endurance Championship as it plans for life after Porsche in the series.

Murata has worked with Toyota since 1987 in a variety of roles, being part of its WEC efforts since the formation of the championship in 2012.

Murata will take over with immediate effect from Toshio Sato, who has been relocated to Toyota’s powertrain division.

“I am proud to take this new role at TMG [Toyota Motorsport]. Since the beginning of our hybrid LMP1 project, I have built up a strong relationship with TMG members so I am looking forward to working together even more closely as we push to succeed in all areas,” Murata said.

“I would like to sincerely thank Sato for his leadership of TMG since 2015 and wish him all the best in his new position.”

Murata’s appointment comes just one week after Porsche announced its decision to close its LMP1 program at the end of 2017, leaving Toyota as the sole manufacturer in the class for 2018.

While details regarding Toyota’s involvement in the championship next year remain unclear, Murata’s appointment suggests there is some kind of future for its LMP1 program.

Rolex 24 update: Scott Dixon leads eight hours in

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We’re just past the eight hour mark in the 2020 edition of the Rolex 24, and darkness has descended over the Daytona International Speedway.

Scott Dixon is the current overall leader, while Harry Tincknell runs in the second position.

As of 10:15 pm ET, the leaders are:

DPi:

  1. No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing, Cadillac DPi, Scott Dixon
  2. No. 55 Mazda Team Joest, Mazda DPi, Harry Tincknell
  3. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing, Cadillac DPi, Felipe Nasr

LMP2:

  1. No. 81 Dragonspeed USA, ORECA LMP2 07, Ben Hanley
  2. No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, ORECA LMP2 07, Simon Trummer
  3. No. 8 Tower MotorSport by Starworks, ORECA LMP2 07, David Heinemeier Hansson

GTLM:

  1. No. 912 Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR-19, Earl Bamber
  2. No. 24 BMW Rahal Letterman Lanigan, BMW M8 GTE, Augusto Farfus
  3. No. 911 Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR-19, Fred Makowiecki

GTD:

  1. No. 48 Paul Miller Racing, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Madison Snow
  2. No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports, Porsche 911 GT3 R, Zacharie Robichon
  3. No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan, Lexus RC F GT3, Frankie Montecalvo

Live coverage of the Rolex 24 at Daytona will return to NBCSN at 11 p.m. ET. Fans can also watch all remaining coverage on NBC Sports Gold’s Trackpass.