TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will push the boundaries of hybrid electric vehicles when it takes on the challenge of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with an evolution of its TS050 HYBRID race car.
After a successful pre-season programme which included 21,000km of running over four three-day tests, the team presented its 2018-19 car at Paul Ricard today prior to the first WEC event of the season, the 30-hour Prologue test which begins at 10am tomorrow and concludes at 4pm on Saturday.
The 2018 TS050 HYBRID will take on the challenge of an eight-race WEC season with the clear target to finally overcome the challenge of the Le Mans 24 Hours, which has so far eluded TOYOTA.
Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López will take on that challenge in the #7 TS050 HYBRID while Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima are joined by newcomer Fernando Alonso in the #8 car. Anthony Davidson continues to contribute in his role as Reserve and Development Driver.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing may be the only major manufacturer in the LMP1 class but it faces an unprecedented challenge to its hybrid electric technology; the TS050 HYBRIDs must fight for victory against LMP1 rivals who have 69% more fuel energy.
New regulations for this season give private LMP1 teams, who do not use hybrid technology, 210.9MJ per lap of Le Mans compared to the 124.9MJ available to the TS050 HYBRID, together with 8MJ of hybrid electric energy.
Fuel flow for the TS050 HYBRIDs is also restricted, to 80kg per hour compared to 110kg/h for the competition in a further move to strengthen the non-hybrid LMP1 cars, which additionally are allowed to run 45kgs lighter.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing enthusiastically welcomes the challenge of proving the efficiency and performance of its hybrid electric powertrain in such tough conditions as part of TOYOTA’s mission to make ever-better road cars.
That mission was highlighted by the GR Super Sport Concept, unveiled earlier this year. The concept car, which has been track tested, incorporates technology developed through the WEC project and is composed of many parts taken directly from the TS050 HYBRID, including the 1,000hp hybrid electric powertrain and lean burn engine.
The TS050 HYBRID has already set new performance and efficiency standards, with last year’s fastest-ever Le Mans lap achieved using 35% less fuel compared to the team’s 2012 WEC debut. Advancements in powertrain technology contribute to race performance and production car technology.
Kinetic energy recovery is a key factor in achieving those improvements, with energy generated under braking harvested by powerful motor/generators on both axles and converted into electrical energy, which is deployed under acceleration to save fuel and deliver performance.
That is the same principal which has seen TOYOTA establish itself as the world leader in hybrid electric road cars, selling more than 11million to date. As part of continuing efforts to develop people as well as technology, road car engineers from Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre will again join the team to enhance their skills.
The 1,000hp hybrid electric powertrain has been modified to strengthen reliability but elsewhere the car is largely the same as that which ended the 2017 season with three consecutive victories.
Small but productive improvements to the aerodynamic package have been achieved within the strict homologation rules while the 2018 car features a Gentex rear view camera, displayed on a screen inside the cockpit for the first time.
Having ended last season as the fastest car, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s goal is to finally defeat the unpredictable and arduous Le Mans 24 Hours as it fights for the WEC titles. That challenge begins at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 5 May and concludes eight races later at Le Mans on 15-16 June 2019.