Toyota Racing has debut its TS040 Hybrid at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the South of France. The company says that this newest Le Mans machine is a major step forward, in its hybrid technology. Toyota’s previous LMP1 ride, the TS030, used a rear-axle-only energy-retrieval setup for 300 hp. That means the TS040 offers nearly 60 percent more juice than its predecessor. Toyota has opted for a 6-MJ (megajoules per lap) energy recovery system, the second highest allowed by the WEC for LMP1-H entrants.
Gaining inspiration from the legendary Toyota Supra HV-R all-wheel-drive hybrid racecar that won the Tokachi 24 Hours in 2007, the new TS040 Hybrid also promises to share its powertrain secrets with road going cars too, according to race team chief Yoshiaki Kinoshita.
“We are competing in order to test the latest hybrid technology in the most extreme motorsport environments, and this has a direct influence on future road-car technology,” Mr Kinoshita said.
The total output gained on the TS040 is well over 100kW (136 hp) and now reaches a peak of 735 kW (1,000 hp) when combining the two motors and the larger-capacity 3.7-liter V8 gasoline engine, 300 cc more than the V8 in the TS030 Hybrid.
The extra motor in the front also enables the car to recover more energy when braking, filling up the super-capacitor faster and benefiting of a total of 353 kW (480 hp) boost when accelerating, from which we understand that the new V8 makes 520 hp. However, due to regulations, the four-wheel-drive system will be available only after reaching 120 km/h.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “We are very much looking forward to our third season in the FIA World Endurance Championship when we will fight to achieve our dream of winning Le Mans and the World Championship. We consider it very important that our racing program contributes to Toyota’s wider activities and I am very proud that data, knowledge and technology pass regularly from our racing program to our R&D colleagues, who are working to make great road cars of the future.”
Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, and Kazuki Nakajima will share the number 7 Toyota TS040, with Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre, and Sébastien Buemi piloting its number 8 twin. The new car recently completed 12 days of testing across Europe, covering around 18,000 km and the team plans one further test session before the Six Hours of Silverstone on April 20th.
Davidson says: “It’s hard to know where our competition will be performance-wise. We are waiting to face them on track but you have to expect Audi will have done a good job and will probably be the one to beat despite Porsche’s heritage in this category. The target is clear for us: winning races and of course Le Mans, which remains the main goal and the race I want to win.”
2014 FIA World Endurance Championship Calendar:
20 April: Six Hours of Silverstone (GB)
3 May: Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Bel)
14 June: Le Mans 24 Hours (Fra)
20 September: Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas (USA)
12 October: Six Hours of Fuji (Jpn)
2 November: Six Hours of Shanghai (Chi)
15 November: Six Hours of Bahrain
30 November: Six Hours of Sao Paulo (Bra)