Toyota GAZOO Racing introduces TS050 hybrid racer for 2016 WEC season; moves up to 8MJ class with Li-ion battery
Toyota GAZOO Racing revealed the all-new TS050 HYBRID LMP1 racer—Toyota’s third new car since joining WEC in 2012—for the 2016 World Endurance Championship (WEC) competition. Following an unsuccessful defense of its World Championship titles in 2015, Toyota set itself tough performance targets in order to compete once again at the front of the field, featuring fellow LMP1-Hybrid manufacturers Porsche and Audi.
The TS050 HYBRID features a significant change in powertrain concept. A 2.4-liter, twin-turbo, direct injection V6 gasoline engine is combined with an 8MJ hybrid system, both of which are developed by Motor Sport Unit Development Division at Higashi-Fuji Technical Center.
The regulations for this season include a reduction in fuel flow and total fuel energy of approximately 7.5%. As motorsport engineers, we want to always increase the performance of the powertrain so it was important to compensate for this reduction with a more efficient, powerful powertrain. We believe a V6, direct injection, twin turbo engine achieves the best balance of power and efficiency considering the current regulations.
Combined with our move into the 8MJ class, this will give us significantly improved torque compared to the previous powertrain; this was a key target for the new car. The new powertrain presents some challenges, particularly in terms of weight and cooling, but the team at Higashi-Fuji and Cologne has worked very hard to address these and I am confident we have met the challenge. We face tough opposition, as last year showed, but we are ready and I cannot wait for Silverstone.—Hisatake Murata, General Manager Motor Sport Unit Development Division
A new generation turbo engine with direct injection is better suited to the current regulations which limit fuel flow to the engine, and provides opportunity to continue technology and knowledge transfer from the track to road cars.
Like Toyota road cars, the front and rear motor-generators recover energy under braking, storing it in a high-powered lithium-ion battery and releasing it as boost for maximum efficiency. The change from super capacitor to battery storage allows the TS050 HYBRID to move up to the more-powerful 8MJ hybrid class.
With the engine contributing 368 kW (494 hp) and the hybrid system contributing the same, combined power for the TS050 is 736 kW (987 hp).
The TS040 HYBRID was already used as a rolling test bench and contributed to current road cars. With turbo engines increasingly in use on the road, Toyota expects to use the technology and know-how from WEC to make ever-better road cars.
The new powertrain concept brings different cooling and packaging demands, including an updated transmission to handle the significant increase in torque delivered by the turbo engine. Combined with a new aerodynamic concept, that means virtually every part on the TS050 HYBRID chassis has been redesigned by Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Germany.
Powertrain components have played their part too in the improved aerodynamic performance of the TS050 HYBRID—by relocating the front motor-generator unit, better under-floor air flow has been achieved which will contribute to overall performance. Suspension kinematics have also been revised to optimize tire wear.
The team has already been busy testing the TS050 HYBRID, striving for performance and reliability, covering over 22,000 km (13,670 miles) with positive results. The next test comes at Paul Ricard on 25-26 March, while the nine-race WEC season kicks off at Silverstone on 17 April.
Aside from some principles which have been retained to capitalise on previous years’ development, we have changed every single part. In many areas, like the powertrain and the aerodynamics, the concepts themselves have changed. The aerodynamic concept, and particularly the front face of the car, has changed drastically. We have spent thousands of hours refining this new concept and this time we have done more than incremental changes; we have significantly changed the way we handle the flow structure after the front downforce-generating devices. There has been a significant progress rate in WEC recently so we cannot afford to have any area of the package which is not fully optimized. The TS050 HYBRID has been developed on that basis. We want to be competitive. That is the minimum target we set ourselves—to be back in the game and competitive.—Pascal Vasselon, Technical Director