Photo : - Toyota Motorsports
On Tuesday at the Paul Ricard circuit, Toyota officially presented its new endurance racing weapon. Two of the TS030 Hybrids are intended to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 after the scheduled debut on 5th May at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
After the publication of leaked photos in the press last week, this time it was the official presentation to the European press of the TS030 Toyota Hybrid. A machine that marks the official return of the manufacturer to a global competition.
Toyota is the first manufacturer to confirm its participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship using a hybrid system, emphasising the pioneering approach to this technology which has seen Toyota hybrid vehicles sold worldwide since 1997. It's that year in fact, that the giant Japanese car hired for the first time in his country of cars powered by a hybrid engine. Early design studies on the chassis, began in Germany in late 2010 at Toyota Motorsport.
The project had a pause following the tsunami that struck Japan in March before the green light to resume was finally given in September.
This car, whose red and white livery revives the traditional competition colours of Toyota, completed its first laps last week.
The powertrain features an all-new 3.4 litre V8 normally-aspirated petrol engine and hybrid system with capacitor storage developed by official team partner Nisshinbo. The team will use the TS030 HYBRID's first test to evaluate the merits, within the current regulations, of a front motor system produced by Aisin AW and a rear motor system developed by official team partner DENSO. Those regulations limit hybrid systems to recovering a maximum of 500kJ between braking zones whilst restricting deployment to only two wheels. The driver has the choice to use this extra energy for extra power immediately or save fuel by allowing the V8 to run slower.
The first tests were very successful according to the designers and drivers.
Two cars will enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans (16th and 17th June, 2012). The first will be entrusted to Alexander Wurz (AUT), double Le Mans winner, Nicolas Lapierre (FRA) and Kazuki Nakajima (JPN). The crew of the second car is not yet finalized, despite driver names rumored for several days. Before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, two TS030 will make their debut in competition at the second round of the championship of the FIA Endurance (May 5) held in Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). Other races will be in the programme but again nothing is yet decided.
The 2012 objectives of Toyota remain to be seen. "The competitor in me will want to start and win Le Mans", Pascal Vasselon fun, the technical director. "But to be completely realistic: probably not. Our objective will be lapping and performance. " To which Alexander Wurz added:" I am sure we will in any case have the ability to make life difficult for Audi. " Vasselon and concluded: "In 2013, we have to win! It's clear! "
Photo: LE CASTELLET (VAR, FRANCE), Paul Ricard HTTT, Monday, January 23, 2012. Nicolas Lapierre, Alexander Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima (from left to right) will share the wheel of a hybrid two TS030 entered in the 2012 endurance racing season. For the fans, Toyota reveals the sound of its 3.4 litre V8 below.