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: Hybrid , Truck , Ford , Toyota Is the Prius V not big enough for you? Then you’ll probably be interested to learn that Ford and Toyota announced a partnership today to develop a new hybrid system for SUVs and light trucks. The “equal partners” deal should result in a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that will be ready “later this decade” – in other words, in time for the higher CAFE standards that the U.S. government just announced. The exact models that will use the new powertrain are, unsurprisingly, not being revealed. Instead, all we know is that Toyota and Ford will develop a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system that will improve the efficiency of trucks and SUVs while still allowing them to be driven in the way customers expect them to. The powertrain’s architecture will most likely not be the same as what is used in the dominant Hybrid Synergy Drive that Toyota has refined over the past 14 years in the Prius . The reason no one knows for sure? All that Ford and Toyota have as this moment is a Memorandum of Understanding. The next step will be a feasibility study to figure out what the exact implementation path will be, with the general outline being that the companies will work together on a powerplant that will be used independently in models that are specific to each company (i.e., this is not about sharing a platform or models, just a RWD hybrid powerplant).