Filed under: Motorsports , Europe , Aston Martin , Audi , Chevrolet , Toyota , Ferrari , Racing Commenting on the rush of events that rocked beginning and end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans , Paul Truswell of Radio Le Mans said “the race is about the ability to endure, not just the ability of drivers to do what they do for a long time.” The entire race machine, all the way down to the pit boards and radios, has to survive the stress and abuse of the entire day. This was the race to prove those words. There were two Toyotas, two Porsches and three Audis, five of the seven led the race at some point, six of the seven ran in the top three. Toyota will be hugely disappointed that it didn’t win when its car and drivers were so, so strong, but they gave Audi the kind of scare we haven’t seen since the best of Peugeot’s days, and Toyota did a better job of it even in the loss. Porsche blew away everyone’s expectations, falling 3.5 hours short of a fairy tale ending that would have made Disney cry. But Le Mans doesn’t really do fairy tales. Well, not that fairy tale. Audi’s Twitter handle during the event was #welcomechallenges. As usual, Le Mans answered for the entire field. Continue reading Race Recap: 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans defines ‘endurance’ Race Recap: 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans defines ‘endurance’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:31:00 EST.
Filed under: Motorsports , Audi , Porsche , Toyota , Racing As is so often the case, the 2014 Le Mans was a war of attrition, and Audi managed to prevail once again after all 24 hours had been recorded in the history books, with its Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro claiming first and second places, followed by Toyota in third. Drivers Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer inherited the lead in their No. 2 Audi after the No. 7 Toyota, driven by pole-sitter Kazuki Nakajima, was forced to retire with electrical problems in the 15th hour. The No. 2 Audi led the race until it was forced to the pits to replace a turbocharger in the 17th hour, allowing the No. 1 Audi, driven by Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gene (who was a last-minute replacement for Loic Duval, who crashed hard during practice) and defending champion Tom Kristensen, led the race until the 21st hour, when it too had to pit with turbocharger issues. This gave the No. 20 Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber the lead until it was forced off the track with gearbox problems, eventually finishing in 38th position. In LMP2, the Jota Sport Zytek Z11SN-Nissan driven by Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Oliver Turvey claimed victory, the first five LMP2 finishers all powered by Nissan .
Filed under: Motorsports , Videos , Toyota , Racing Two weeks ago, Audi released its short video about this years 24 Hours of Le Mans , and now Toyota has put the experience into its own words and pictures. Called The Ultimate Endurance Race , the clip and accompanying press release focus on how hybrid power helped Toyota claim second and fourth places with the TS030 Hybrid in just its second year competing at Le Mans. There are some brief scenes of the battles had this year, like when Lucas di Grassi in the Toyota almost kissed Allan McNish in the Audi above, but the best part might be when Toyota promises it will be back. Next year, it’s gonna be good. You’ll find the relevant words and the images just below . Continue reading Toyota releases its Le Mans recap, ‘The Ultimate Endurance Race’ Toyota releases its Le Mans recap, ‘The Ultimate Endurance Race’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Aftermarket , Sedan , Performance , Europe , Japan , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury Toyota is getting serious about building performance versions of its current models. The manufacturer hopes to turn Toyota Motorsport GmbH, the crew behind the Toyota Le Mans effort and the automaker’s now defunct Formula One team, into a factory-backed tuner. TMG currently handles almost everything motorsport related for Toyota with the exception of engine building, and the group is currently hard at work on what could develop into a World Rally Championship entry in the near future. TMG is shooting for a WRC debut in 2014 with a turbocharged 1.6-liter Yaris , and buyers will be able to purchase an FIA version of the model for around €25,000. According to Yoshiaki Kinoshita, president of TMG, the organization will also prepare high-performance versions of Lexus vehicles. That helps explain the Lexus LS460 TMG Edition our photographers spotted at the N
Filed under: Coupe , Toyota , Racing The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. So, apparently, do the world’s automakers. At least, that is, when it comes to Le Mans . Case in point: the new Toyota TS030 Hybrid, the Le Mans prototype that the Japanese automaker has just revealed, mere days after Peugeot announced its departure from the endurance racing scene. Shorthand for the third Toyota Sport prototype – following the TS010 and TS020 that challenged Le Mans in the ’90s – the TS030 is the first LMP1 to employ a hybrid drivetrain. ( Peugeot was experimenting with a similar system before shutting down its program, and Audi is rumored to be testing one as well, but has yet to announce it to the public.) Toyota Hybrid System – Racing (THS-R) couples a 3.4-liter V8 to one of two potential electric motor setups: a front-mounted system developed by Aisin AW or a rear-mounted one from Denso. According to regulations, the electric boost can only drive one set of wheels, and Toyota has yet to decide which, although the 500kJ capacitor supplied by Nisshinbo is already a lock. The carbon fiber chassis, meanwhile, was developed in-house by Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Germany – the same outfit that ran the company’s F1 team and has been looking for a new project ever since. The facility will serve as the team’s headquarters as well, from which it will field one car in its debut at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – the second round of the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship – on May 5. Toyota is planning to field a second car at Le Mans in June, but while the first car’s driver roster is already confirmed , the team has yet to decide on its second line-up.
Filed under: Motorsports , Spy Photos , Coupe , Hybrid , Europe , Toyota , Racing The sudden departure of Peugeot from the Le Mans racing scene came as quite a shock, we know. But don’t count the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship – or the famed 24-hour race at its center – out for the count before it’s even started, because another powerhouse is already gearing up to take Peugeot’s place. And that powerhouse is Toyota . The Japanese auto giant announced its plans to build and campaign a new LMP1 racer at Le Mans and the WEC back in October. Toyota Motorsport GmbH (which ran the company’s F1 team until its withdrawal in 2009) then set about designing the car, partnering with Team Oreca to help with the logistics of entering the pinnacle of endurance racing, and hired three top pilots to, you know, actually drive the thing. With all those pieces in place, the Toyota team began testing their new prototype racer last week at the Paul Ricard test track in France. Toyota itself didn’t release much in the way of details, but Alex Wurz was said to have led the shake-down, with his team-mates Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima on hand to share in the driving duties as well. And while no “official” photos were “officially” released, Toyota PR rep Scott Brownlee tweeted a couple of snapshots to whet our appetites. The result looks, predictably enough, much like the latest LMP1 racers fielded by Audi and the departed Peugeot, but as with most things, it’s what’s underneath the surface that will count the most. In Toyota’s sake, that would be a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain of some sort, but we’ll have to wait a little while longer – as the next round of testing and the car’s anticipated debut at Spa come May approach – to find out more.
Filed under: Motorsports , Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota Toyota is dead serious about its new Le Mans effort. To that end, the Japanese auto giant is developing an all-new hybrid LMP1 racer , it has retained the considerable services of Team Oreca to help with trackside logistics , and it has now announced its driver lineup. And make no mistake about it, these are no rookies. Headlining the roster is Alex Wurz, who holds the title as the youngest winner in the history of Le Mans. The Austrian driver won again for Peugeot two years ago, and he has also taken the checkered flag at the Petit Le Mans, the Spa 1,000km and the Sebring 12 Hours, to name just a few. And as if that weren’t enough, he’s also an accomplished former Formula One driver, having driven for and scored podium finishes for a variety of teams including Benetton, McLaren and Williams (though not Toyota). Joining Wurz will be Nicolas Lapierre, a French driver with a distinguished record in both lower formula racing (like F3 and A1GP) and endurance racing, including a win at Sebring this year. Finally, Toyota has added Kazuki Nakajima (one of Japan’s best F1 drivers of the modern era) to the team that will be developing and fielding the new LMP1 at La Sarthe and other FIA World Endurance Championship races next season. The car is expected to make its debut “early in the new year” at a yet-to-be-determined European venue. Continue reading Toyota recruits top drivers for new Le Mans program Toyota recruits top drivers for new Le Mans program originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Nov 2011 18:20:00 EST.
Filed under: Motorsports , Toyota 1998 Toyota GT-One – Click above for high-res image gallery This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans packed plenty of action, but there weren’t as many automakers fielding their own entries in the top-tier LMP1 category as you might think. There was Audi , of course, which has dominated the category for years, arch-rival Peugeot , with its diesel-powered challenger, and Aston Martin , which stepped up to the big leagues after dominating just about every GT category for years. Honda Performance Development had a couple of cars in the second-tier LMP2 category, and there were plenty of factory-supported GT cars. The rest of the LMP1 field was filled by privateers running mostly Lola, Zytek, Oreca or Judd chassis, powered by a variety of engines. But the coming years could see an influx of new automakers aiming to take on Audi for the top honors. According to the latest rumors, race organizers ACO are in discussions with a number of car manufacturers interested in entering the LMP1 category. Chief among them is reportedly Toyota , which is said to have been working on its own prototype since last year. The Toyota LMP1 is reportedly being developed with Dome – a Japanese chassis constructor that’s built such racing machinery as the competition-spec Honda NSX , an aborted F1 program and several Le Mans prototypes, as well as a handful of Toyota racers in the 1980s – and incorporates a hybrid powertrain. The last time Toyota competed at Le Mans was with the GT-One (pictured above), which raced there in 1998 and 1999 but held the lap record at La Sarthe until 2006. The new entry, according to reports, could be ready for an assault on next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.