Filed under: Coupe , Hybrid , Performance , Technology , Scion , Subaru , Toyota We happen to like the Toyota GT86 – and, it of course goes without saying that the same applies to the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S , as well – just the way it is. Yes, that includes the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine and its 200 horsepower at 7,000 rpm. That said, a little extra power never hurt anybody, right? The most obvious way to add some punch to the GT86 would be with a turbocharger, and that has indeed long been rumored for an STI version of the BRZ. Will Toyota follow suit? According to Top Gear , the answer is no. Says GT86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, “I think 300bhp with a turbo and 200g/km of CO2 would be tasteless in this day and age. And a turbo would mean the loss of the GT86′s uniqueness.” Perhaps a bit harsh, but there you go. If no turbo, how will Toyota add some punch to its sports car? Possibly with a supercharger ?
Filed under: Motorsports , Coupe , Safety , Videos , Toyota , Racing The LMP1 racer standing on its nose is the No. 8 Toyota TS030 driven by Anthony Davidson, having just recently begun his driving stint and only five hours into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, while the red car next to it is the No. 81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Piergiuseppe Perrazini. Davidson took the inside line down the Mulsanne Straight, and based on the vantage point in the video, it looks like Davidson had got a decent chunk of the Toyota ahead of the Ferrari when Perrazini turned into him. The result were hard runs into the tire wall and the end of the race for both drivers. Davidson got out on his own but was sent to the hospital for observation until Monday morning, but thankfully Toyota has released a statement saying Davidson shows “no signs of any injuries.” However, reports indicate Davidson has fractured two vertebra, and he soon tweeted from the hospital “Well that was a big one! Lying in a French hospital with a broken back wasn’t what I had in mind at this stage in the race…” The safety car came out while the accident was cleared, but the Toyota team’s woes were compounded when the No. 7 TS030 driven by Kazuki Nakajima drove into the Nissan DeltaWing of Satoshi Motoyama on the restart. The contact sent the DeltaWing into the wall (and despite efforts to revive it, out of the race) and the No. 7 Toyota headed back to the pits for repairs and a steep drop down the order. As of this writing, Audi’s brace of R18 E-Tron Quattro racers appear to have the inside track on a victory.
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.
Filed under: Motorsports , Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota F1 drivers typically have a shelf life shorter than what you otherwise might call a career. As the constant stream of new, young drivers usurps existing F1 seats, you’re left with a wealth of talent available to contest other forms of motorsport. That’s how you end up with former grand prix pilots in other series like IndyCar , DTM and even ice racing . Then there’s Le Mans . Every year the most famous of endurance races packs its grid with rejects from the Formula One circus, and 2012 is no exception, particularly with Toyota launching a works effort out of the German facility that used to house its F1 team. Toyota has already confirmed that the first of its TS030 Hybrid LMP1 racers will be driven by former F1 drivers Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima (along with Nicolas Lapierre), and has now announced that Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi are on the roster for the second car. Davidson is an established F1 test driver, having worked for the team known successively as BAR, Honda , Brawn and Mercedes . He’s also driven a handful of grands prix for Super Aguri and Minardi , and contested Le Mans and related series for Aston Martin Racing and Peugeot Sport , including a win at Sebring. Buemi drove the last three F1 seasons for Scuderia Toro Rosso until being cut this year. He’ll combine his endurance racing debut with his test driver role at Red Bull Racing .
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.