More info, as well as a video has emerged on Toyota’s new prototype racer, expected to race at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Yes, it’s a hybrid, and yes, it should be very fast.
Toyota’s LMP1 racer -- dubbed the TS030 Hybrid – sports an all-new carbon fiber chassis, along with -- as has long been reported -- a hybrid powertrain, which happens to be one of Toyota’s specialties. But unlike the Hybrid Synergy Drive found in Prii and Lexus models roaming our roads, the TS030 will feature a Toyota Hybrid System –Racing (THS-R) powertrain, which includes a 3.4-liter, naturally-aspirated V-8. Completing the hybrid equation are two electric motors (one in the front and the in back) and a capacitor storage system, which stores energy while braking and releases a power boost when needed. FIA regulations will only allow energy deployment to two wheels at a time.
TheTS030 Hybrid was developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH, which is based in Germany, and the car is viewed as a successor to the TS010 and TS020 cars that earned podium finishes at Le Mans throughout the 1990s. The first team of drivers has already been confirmed, and will include Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, and Kazuki Nakajima.
“It was cool to drive the TS030 HYBRID car for the first time," Wurz said in a statement. "Just leaving the garage on the electric power is very futuristic, then when you let the clutch go and the internal combustion engine kicks in it is like an old friend has returned. I am definitely very happy but my nature is to also be analytical and therefore I know there is still a lot of work to be done.”
The video below features the TS030 Hybrid performing test laps at the Paul Ricard racetrack. It makes it official debut at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5, followed by the Le Mans 24 Hours race on June 16. Toyota plans to enter two cars for Le Mans. With Peugeot now out of prototype endurance racing, the one to beat is Audi’s R18 TDI LMP1. Diesel power vs. hybrid? Who will win the battle of the eco-racers?