WEC regulations for 2017 target a reduction in aerodynamic efficiency, to increase the Le Mans lap time by several seconds for safety reasons. This is achieved by raising the front splitter by 15mm in combination with a narrower rear diffuser.
Using tools such as computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnels, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has modified its aerodynamic concept to meet this challenge; a raised nose and sharp undercut to the sidepods are the most noticeable modifications.
According to new regulations, teams are limited to two aerodynamic configurations per season, reduced from three in 2016, so the high-downforce TS050 HYBRID launched today will start the season at Silverstone. Tyre usage is also restricted, with each car limited to four sets, plus two spare tyres, for qualifying and six-hour races. The team has worked with Michelin to meet this challenge, including new compounds and constructions, as well as optimising the suspension geometry to limit wear.
Other rule changes are designed to enhance safety. Side mirrors now need to pass visibility tests while hybrid cars must display lights to indicate normal powertrain behaviour. If the green safety light is not illuminated during a race, a car will be forced to pit for repairs.