Toyota TS030 Hybrid Le Mans Racer Revealed

January 25, 2012


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Less than a week after Peugeot’s dramatic announcement, a new pretender to Audi‘s endurance racing crown has stepped up; Toyota. Following a roll out and private test last week, the Japanese manufacturer has now officially taken the wraps off the TS030 Hybrid. Short for ToyotaSport, the TS name was used for the company’s last two Le Mans racers; the TS010 and the TS020. Toyota’s all new racer has the combined power of Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Germany (chassis) and Toyota in Japan (powertrain) behind it. Meeting the latest LMP1 regulations, the TS030 uses a coupe design with a central air-intake very similar to the Audi R18‘s. Among the first things that capture the eye are the long wing end-plates and the massive front fenders, indicating that, like the competition, the TS030 will run rear tyres on the front as well. The car’s most interesting aspect is, no doubt, the THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System – Racing) powertrain. It consists of an all-new naturally aspirated V8 engine that drives the rear wheels through a transverse six-speed gearbox and an electric motor. Depending on the findings in testing, the motor will be connected to the front or rear axle. If the former setup is used, the TS030 will effectively become a 4WD car for several seconds per lap. The energy, generated under braking, is not stored in a battery but in a capacitor.

A single TS030 is readied for a debut at the Spa 1000 km race in May and an entry for two cars is submitted for Le Mans. The vastly experienced Oreca team will assist in running the cars, while Alexander Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima will be among the drivers. The vastly experienced Oreca will assist in running the cars.

If the specs and looks don’t deceive, we certainly feel the Toyota TS030 Hybrid is capable of seriously challenging Audi.

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