TOYOTA GAZOO Racing today revealed the all-new TS050 HYBRID, the car which will carry its hopes into a new season of World Endurance Championship (WEC) competition.
Following a difficult defence of its World Championship titles in 2015, TOYOTA has set itself tough performance targets in order to compete once again at the front of a fiercely-competitive WEC field, featuring fellow LMP1-Hybrid manufacturers Porsche and Audi.
The TS050 HYBRID, TOYOTA’s third new car since joining WEC in 2012, was unveiled publicly for the first time at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France this morning.
It features a significant change in powertrain concept. A 2.4litre, twin-turbo, direct injection V6 petrol engine is combined with an 8MJ hybrid system, both of which are developed by Motor Sport Unit Development Division at Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre.
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.
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.
A 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 optimise tyre wear.
The team, which includes several new faces, has already been busy testing the TS050 HYBRID, striving for performance and reliability, covering over 22,000km 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.
Toshio Sato, Team President: “This is a very exciting season for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, particularly because we have a completely new car with a new powertrain concept. This reflects the current trend in road cars and gives us more opportunities to transfer know-how and technology into TOYOTA’s road car developments. Our WEC activities are motivated by the development of technology and people; we are already seeing the results of our activities in current road cars. But as well as helping TOYOTA to make ever-better cars, we also want to win. Our clear target this year is to compete again at the front, after a very disappointing 2015 season. In Higashi-Fuji and Cologne, there has been a huge effort to prepare for this season; everyone is highly motivated and pushing together to get back onto the centre of the podium.”
Hisatake Murata, General Manager Motor Sport Unit Development Division: “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.”
Pascal Vasselon, Technical Director: “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 optimised. 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.”
Rob Leupen, Team Director: “The team has worked extremely hard on the TS050 HYBRID, which is the result of a close, productive cooperation. Our innovative motorsport technology, as well as the R&D opportunities in Cologne, is contributing to making ever-better cars and the development of road car engineers. At TMG we are delighted to welcome increasing numbers of colleagues from Japan to learn and utilise motorsport as a test bed for new technologies. We are continuously improving team work and this process is very positive; expertise is transferred between Cologne and Higashi-Fuji, and vice-versa, to help reach our targets in WEC. We have responded to a difficult 2015 by reinforcing our team with additional, younger faces throughout, including the driver line-up. The whole team has worked hard during the tests; we still have a long way to go but we expect to be competitive this year.”
2016 World Endurance Championship Calendar
17 April 6 Hours of Silverstone (Gbr)
7 May 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Bel)
18 June 24 Hours of Le Mans (Fra)
24 July 6 Hours of Nürburgring (Deu)
3 September 6 Hours of Mexico (Mex)
17 September 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (USA)
16 October 6 Hours of Fuji (Jpn)
6 November 6 Hours of Shanghai (Chn)
19 November 6 Hours of Bahrain (Bhr)