|TS030 HYBRID. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Racing will participate in the FIA World Endurance Championship with the TS030 HYBRID—the successor to the TS010 and TS020 cars which participated at Le Mans with podium success during the 1990s, with TS an acronym for Toyota Sport. Toyota is the first manufacturer to confirm its participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship using a hybrid system.
Toyota Racing, based at Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Cologne, Germany, will make its race debut on 5 May in the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Toyota Racing intends to enter two cars at the Le Mans 24 Hours (16-17 June). Participation in further rounds will be confirmed soon.
The THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System - Racing) powertrain is designed to deliver maximum performance and features an all-new 90° V8 normally-aspirated gasoline 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 500 kJ between braking zones while restricting deployment to only two wheels.
Like Toyota’s full hybrid road cars, energy is generated under braking and the TS030 HYBRID can operate in electric-only mode, achieving zero emissions and zero fuel consumption.
A brand new carbon fibre LMP1 chassis has been developed and produced at TMG, where the complete car was assembled for the first time in preparation for a roll-out on 11-13 January at Paul Ricard.
During an exclusive test session at the French track, which included running in darkness, the TS030 HYBRID completed several hundred kilometer. Drivers Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre both put the TS030 HYBRID through its paces at Paul Ricard, joined by 30-year-old Japanese driver Hiroaki Ishiura, who is a candidate to join the driver line-up at races where Toyota Racing participates with two cars.
Official partners to the Toyota Racing programme also include ZENT, Aisin, Nippon Steel, Takata, Toyoda Gosei and Michelin.
Of course we would love to win Le Mans; that is the dream for all competitors in this race. But we are realistic and we know we need to develop and to learn in order to compete with some very strong competition. Our target this year is to show the performance level of our car and particularly the THS-R powertrain. Hybrid is a core technology of Toyota so it is important to demonstrate this in a motorsport arena and we want to prove it can bring a performance advantage, both in terms of lap time and fuel efficiency. Everyone involved in designing, developing and preparing the car - both at TMG and at Motor Sport Division in Japan - has worked incredibly hard to reach this point and we are all very excited to be back on the race track again.—Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President
Toyota first competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 1983, marking the start of a long period of participation in endurance racing which included several editions of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Toyota cars have raced in 13 Le Mans 24 Hours races, with a total of 36 vehicles taking part. Toyota has finished on the podium three times, all second places. Including those results, it has finished in the top six a total of nine times. In qualifying, Toyota has four front-row starts to its name, including one pole positions.
For 2012, Toyota will return to endurance racing and the FIA World Endurance Championship by entering selected rounds with a hybrid LMP1 car, the TS030 HYBRID. The chassis has been designed and built by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), where the race team is based. TMG is the former home of Toyota’s World Rally and Formula 1 works teams, and was responsible for design and operation of Toyota’s TS020 (GT-One) Le Mans car in 1998-99. TMG now combines works motorsport participation with a new direction as a high-performance engineering services provider to third party companies, as well as the Toyota family.