Filed under: Motorsports , Technology , Toyota , Racing The 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship is gearing up to be one of the most exciting seasons of endurance racing in recent memory. All of the factory-entered LMP1 class cars are using hybrid powertrains, and Porsche is returning to the top class of the sport after a 16-year absence. Don’t count out Toyota , though. The team has just revealed the first official details about its 2014 TS040 LMP1 car, and it has a big surprise – all-wheel drive. The TS040 will follow Audi’s lead and will use a combination motor and generator to power the front wheels. The system will generate power under braking and will use it up when accelerating to give a boost in traction over last year’s rear-wheel-drive Toyota TS030 . Toyota will stick with a gasoline-fueled, naturally aspirated 3.4-liter V8 to feed the rear wheels and will take on Audi’s diesel, turbocharged 3.7-liter V6 and Porsche’s gasoline-fueled, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Sadly, there are no real pictures of the TS040 yet. Toyota is holding off on unveiling the car until the end of March at the WEC test at the Paul Ricard circuit, and the racing season doesn’t begin until April 20 with the 6 Hours of Silverstone. You can read the whole press release about the TS040 below .
Filed under: Concept Cars , 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show , Motorsports , Hybrid , Performance , Europe , Hatchback , Toyota Did you know that the Yaris is Toyota’s best-selling vehicle in Europe? That may help explain to us Americans why the car that’s lowest on the company’s totem poll here in the US got turned into an all-wheel-drive hybrid track monster for the 2013 Frankfurt Monster Show . Called the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R , this three-door pocket rocket isn’t just a hybrid making a lot of horsepower – it incorporates technology from Toyota’s TS030 Hybrid racecar that competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship series, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans . The Yaris Hybrid-R packs a 300-horsepower, turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood, which should be enough for most speed freaks, but Toyota pairs it with two 60-hp electric motors at each rear wheel (the same ones used in the production Yaris Hybrid that’s sold in Europe). That makes total system output an insane-for-this-size 420 hybrid horsies. But that’s not all, as the Yaris Hybrid-R forgoes the traditional battery pack below the rear seats in favor of a supercapacitor, which can both hold more energy and has a much faster power charge/discharge speed than traditional batteries. Paired with the supercapacitor is a third 60-hp electric motor/generator positioned between the engine and six-speed sequential transmission. Its job is to feed the super capacitor energy during deceleration and direct its power to the rear electric motors when more grip and oomph is needed. Indeed, the powertrain for this through-the-road hybrid is decidedly more high-tech and competition-spec oriented than the somewhat boy race appearance package suggests, though we dig the 18-inch TRD wheels wrapped in proper Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and Recaro seats. And it’s not just a track warrior, as Toyota engineers have given it both Track and Road driving modes, though a track is the only place you would ever see the Yaris Hybrid-R’s potential fully realized.
Filed under: Motorsports , Toyota , Racing When Toyota announced its return to endurance sports car racing with the new TS030 Hybrid this season, the plan was to enter a handful of races, like Le Mans and Spa-Francorchamps, on an invitational basis. Plans change, though, and Toyota has now upgraded the program to a full manufacturer entry, paving the way for it to compete in the entire FIA World Endurance Championship schedule. Now, with budget constraints, it’s likely that Toyota will still pick and choose which races to contest, but it does open the door. The change was apparently made in order to support endurance racing as a motorsport discipline. As part of its arrangement with the FIA , organizers at the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) need at least two manufacturers in the LMP1 category. With Peugeot’s withdrawal, the series lacked the requisite level of participation, so Toyota stepped up to fill the void. Follow the jump for the full announcement. Continue reading Toyota upgrades limited TS030 Hybrid racing program to full WEC entry Toyota upgrades limited TS030 Hybrid racing program to full WEC entry originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 05 Feb 2012 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
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 , Hybrid , Toyota , Racing Toyota has announced that it is returning to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile’s World Endurance Championship in 2012. The car it will be contesting the series with is a new prototype that will use a hybrid gasoline/electric powertrain. We can only hope the experience will equal more exciting future models under the Prius range… The last time Toyota competed in Le Mans racing was in 1999, just before the Japanese automaker abandoned the GT-One program to focus on Formula One. We don’t expect Toyota’s new LMP1 racer to have anything in common with the erstwhile GT-One, which was powered by a 600-horsepower 3.6-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. Though always fast, Toyota’s last-gen endurance racer never quite put together a complete race. Here’s hoping the effort produces more consistent results this time around. Check out the official announcement after the break . Continue reading Toyota returning to Le Mans with hybrid LMP1 car Toyota returning to Le Mans with hybrid LMP1 car originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Oct 2011 17:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .