Le Mans starting grid set, Audi hybrid takes pole but Toyotas break up the pack

Le Mans starting grid set, Audi hybrid takes pole but Toyotas break up the pack

June 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Motorsports , Hybrid , Audi , Nissan , Toyota , Diesel There were times during the past two days of qualifying when it looked like Audi might own the first two rows of the starting grid for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans . The R18 e-tron quattro hybrid cars were running the quickest lap times, with the two diesel R18 Ultras following close behind. The two Toyota TS 030 hybrid cars were also quick, but it seemed they were always nipping at the heels of an Audi’s lap time, much like the Audis used to trail the faster Peugeots during qualifying for Le Mans races of the recent past. And we all know how that usually ended for Peugeot . So when the third and final qualifying session ended last evening, we were surprised to learn the starting grid had ended up as anything but expected. An Audi will have pole position, and a hybrid car at that, which marks the first time such a powertrain has earned the honor. The No. 1 R18 e-tron quattro beat all comers with a fastest lap of 3:23.787, nearly two seconds quicker than last year’s pole. Next to the first R18 e-tron quattro will be another R18, but not a hybrid. The No.

Toyota pushes back TS030 race debut after test-session crash

Toyota pushes back TS030 race debut after test-session crash

April 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Motorsports , Toyota “Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht,” goes the old Yiddish proverb. Man plans, God laughs. And that certainly applies to motor racing, where engineers, mechanics, strategists… entire teams spend day and night over the course of months preparing to campaign their new race car, only for it all to go horribly wrong at the last minute. And that’s what the folks at Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Germany, are apparently facing now. After having their Formula One program shut down a couple of years ago by corporate headquarters, Toyota Motorsport has been hunting for a new project ever since. That new project turned out to be the TS030 Hybrid , an advanced Le Mans prototype which they’ve been gearing up to campaign in the new FIA World Endurance Championship and its headline event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans . Only those plans were set back some – if not ground to a halt – last Wednesday when the only working example of the TS030 crashed while undergoing testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in the South of France. In the statement after the jump , Toyota doesn’t specify exactly what happened or who was driving at the time, but you can be sure he’s feeling pretty morose right now, because the chassis was damaged so extensively that the team won’t be able to repair it in time for the Six Hours of Spa where the car was supposed to make its race debut on May 5. Toyota does, however, expect to be up and running again in time for Le Mans in June, although whether that will leave the team with enough time to build the two cars it was expecting to field there or have to revert to a single entrant remains to be seen.

Toyota reveals TS030 Hybrid endurance prototype [w/video]

Toyota reveals TS030 Hybrid endurance prototype [w/video]

January 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Toyota reveals TS030 Hybrid endurance prototype

Toyota reveals TS030 Hybrid endurance prototype

January 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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