The new car, which features TOYOTA’s ground-breaking four-wheel drive hybrid technology, has completed over 25,000km of testing in preparation for the first of eight WEC races this year, which includes the Le Mans 24 Hours.
High-downforce specification TS040 HYBRIDs will be used at Silverstone, providing better aerodynamic grip at the cost of top speed, with a low-downforce package already prepared for the high-speed Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
TS040 HYBRID #7 will be driven by Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima while Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi share the #8 car.
TOYOTA Racing has finished on the podium in both its races at Silverstone so far, starting from one-two on the grid in 2013, and is targeting a victory to make a perfect start to the new season.
New regulations for 2014 mean the TS040 HYBRID will produce more power, courtesy of its 520PS 3.7litre petrol engine and 480PS hybrid system, whilst simultaneously using 25% less fuel than its predecessor, the TS030 HYBRID.
Under deceleration, motor-generators on the front and rear axles apply braking force in combination with traditional mechanical brakes to harvest energy, which is stored in a super-capacitor. During acceleration, the motor/generator reverses its function, acting as a motor to deliver a power boost.
Unlike previous seasons, the TS040 HYBRID is permitted to recover and release energy at any point on the circuit, allowing the team to strategically employ the technology for efficiency or performance.
The drivers get their first chance to experience this cutting-edge technology at Silverstone on Friday with two 90-minute practice sessions (11.55 & 15.55). Saturday sees final practice (9.00-10.00) before qualifying (12.35-13.00) while the six-hour race starts at 12.00 on Sunday.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “After all the pre-season testing, Silverstone is the first chance to truly judge how competitive each car really is. So it is a very exciting time and a moment I have been anticipating for many months. Our team has worked extremely hard to be ready for this race and we believe we are in good shape. We have hit our performance and reliability targets; now we will see where that puts against our competition. With three manufacturers now competing in LMP1, I expect an exciting battle throughout the season which is great news for fans and positive pressure for the teams. We are better prepared than ever before so I cannot wait to see how the race plays out on Sunday.”
Alex Wurz (TS040 HYBRID #7): “Silverstone is when we find out if all our work over the winter has been enough to put us where we want to be; at the front. We have completed a lot of laps and made some really good progress with the TS040 HYBRID. The technology in this car, particularly the hybrid system, is awesome and it’s a real privilege to drive it. I think we are well prepared but I learnt long ago not to be over confident before the start of the season. We need to do everything right through the whole Silverstone weekend to give ourselves the best chance of starting the season with a victory.”
Stéphane Sarrazin (TS040 HYBRID #7): “This is my first race with the #7 TS040 HYBRID and I’m looking forward to experiencing a race weekend with Alex and Kazuki for the first time. I think everyone in the team is really excited by this first race of the season. With new regulations and the arrival of a new manufacturer, this season is a big challenge but we have prepared really well and I’m ready for it. The last race of 2013 was also my first win for TOYOTA Racing; that memory has motivated me over the winter and I want to challenge for more wins this season, starting at Silverstone.”
Kazuki Nakajima (TS040 HYBRID #7): “It’s great to get back to racing and I can’t wait to see what the TS040 HYBRID can do at Silverstone. It’s one of my favourite tracks and one which I know really well. I’m really interested to see how it feels to experience 1000PS of four-wheel drive on such a fun track and in direct competition with our rivals. It looks like a very competitive championship this year and it’s exciting to be part of it. But it will also be a big challenge for everyone in the team so we will be pushing as hard as possible, right from the first race.”
Anthony Davidson (TS040 HYBRID #8): “As my home race, and the first race of a big season for TOYOTA Racing, I have been looking forward to the Six Hours of Silverstone for a long time. After all the development and testing, the first race is when we really see who has the upper hand. We have pushed very hard over the winter and I think the TS040 HYBRID is a big step forward compared to last year’s car. I enjoyed the winning feeling in Bahrain in the last race of 2013, so I’m really motivated to fight for another victory this weekend.”
Nicolas Lapierre (TS040 HYBRID #8): “It’s the first race of the season and also my first race on the #8 crew, with Anthony and Sébastien. We already had a good relationship and this has grown even stronger over the winter. I won four races with the #7 so it will seem strange to be racing against it! But this is a team effort and the most important thing is that we achieve a strong result at Silverstone for TOYOTA Racing. After a good pre-season, I am confident we’ll be competitive and I think the whole paddock is eager to see how the LMP1 battle goes.”
Sébastien Buemi (TS040 HYBRID #8): “This is my second full season of endurance racing and I have learnt a lot in the last 12 months. I feel better prepared for 2014 and I can see the team is also in good shape. That’s no guarantee of a successful season but it gives us confidence and we go to Silverstone with high expectations. I am sure it will be a tough fight but we have some amazing hybrid technology and I’m sure this will impress people when they see it in action. It always helps to get a good result to start the season and that is my target this weekend.”