New Toyota TS040 racing hybrid features new V8 all-wheel drive hybrid system with supercap energy storage
Since 2012, Toyota has been racing its TS030 Hybrid, equipped with a full racing hybrid system, in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). (Earlier post.) Participating in all eight races and with two wins last year, Toyota plans to enter all races this year with two new TS040 vehicles from Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) designed to meet changes in this year’s vehicle rules. Toyota hopes to achieve its first win in this year’s Le Mans 24-hour race, the third race in the WEC series.
The THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System―Racing) powertrain, developed at Toyota’s Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Japan, incorporates a new hybrid system equipped with a new V8 engine and an Aisin AW motor/generator on the front axle in combination with the DENSO unit at the rear to better power all four wheels to meet changes in vehicle rules this year.
Under deceleration, the motor/generators apply braking force in combination with traditional mechanical brakes to generate energy, which is transferred via a DENSO inverter to the Nisshinbo supercapacitor. During acceleration, the motor/generator reverses its function, acting as a motor to deliver a significant power boost.
Both the four-wheel-drive hybrid system and the gasoline-powered V8 engine were developed by Motor Sports Unit Development Division at the Higashifuji technical centre, where next generation Toyota road car technology is also under development.
The link between motorsport technology and future road cars is fundamental to Toyota Racing, with the TS040 HYBRID, like its predecessor, acting as a real-life test bench for TOYOTA’s latest hybrid concepts.
The TS040 HYBRID chassis is designed, developed, manufactured, built and operated by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Cologne. It represents a major evolution on the TS030 HYBRID thanks to advanced aerodynamics and lightweight design.
New regulations with revised dimensions have made the 2014-generation LMP1 cars narrower by 10cm while measures such as wheel tethers and a rear crash box have further increased safety.
Intensive simulation and calculation work at TMG has refined the TS040 HYBRID, utilizing hardware-in-the-loop technology to test individual components based on real track data and powerful calculation computers to optimise designs.
Such techniques are significantly more efficient than track testing, Toyota says, allowing TMG engineers to continue optimizing all aspects of the TS040 HYBRID chassis and lay-out for longer than rivals relying on traditional methods.
The TS040 HYBRID is the result of more than one year of development at TMG. We started the first design studies back in November 2012 and gradually increased our efforts on this car, with our energies becoming fully focused on the TS040 HYBRID soon after Le Mans last year. We are very lucky at TMG to possess such advanced calculation and simulation technology which allows us to develop a car in the virtual world. This enables more pure development work to be completed on the design before a car is even built and this is even more significant when managing a major regulation change like we faced for 2014. The TS040 HYBRID is a major evolution compared to its predecessor, which was already very efficient aerodynamically and mechanically; we have high hopes for it and we’re looking forward to the start of the season.—John Litjens, Chassis Project Leader
Development of the TS040 HYBRID has been completed alongside a range of external motorsport and automotive projects running concurrently at TMG, for third-party clients and Toyota Motor Corporation.
The car completed a successful roll-out at Paul Ricard on 21-23 January, with Alex Wurz and Anthony Davidson driving. Further testing is planned prior to the season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone (20 April). Its first public appearance will come at the WEC official test session on 28-29 March.
More details about the TS040 HYBRID, including technical specifications, will be released immediately prior to the 28-29 official WEC test.
Toyota is currently applying to field two vehicles in all eight WEC races. All vehicles will be equipped with Michelin tires. In the future, Toyota says, it will be able to utilize the advanced hybrid technologies obtained from these activities in mass-production hybrid vehicles.
Highlights of the FIA WEC series include the Le Mans 24-hour race (14-15 June), the third race of the series; and the Fuji 6 Hour race (11-12 October), the sixth race of the series.