The British Touring Car Championship’s hybrid test mule Toyota Corolla has contested all official sessions of the series’ recent Silverstone round. The car was entered as part of a demonstration of the hybrid system, albeit not regarded as the full competitive debut of the car.
Piloted by 2013 series champion Andrew Jordan and overseen by Cosworth and M-Sport personnel, who were responsible for development of the system, the Corolla was initially subject to setup running to establish a baseline for its race runs later in the weekend.
On race day, Jordan set the third-fastest lap time in race one, before going on to set the fastest lap out of all 30 cars in the second race. Just as impressive as recording the fastest lap of the race was the fact that in doing so the vehicle did not even set the fastest speed trap times, demonstrating that the car was being run without artificially increasing its performance above its normal level.
As directed by TOCA, the car started every session from the pitlane with Jordan refraining from ‘dicing’ with other cars. Unfortunately, the car retired on lap six of the final race with a cracked weld in its exhaust manifold, which was unrelated to the hybrid system.
According to TOCA, the car successfully and consistently deployed its hybrid power throughout the weekend – approximately a 10% power increase – for a maximum of 15 seconds per lap. The car was also equipped with the all-new 2022 ‘TOCA Engine’ developed and built by M-Sport. This new engine has successfully completed all its durability and performance programs (both in-car and on-dyno) in readiness for introduction from next season for those teams that don’t wish to develop their own engines.
M-Sport confirmed that the engine ran faultlessly throughout the Silverstone weekend, other than the minor cracked weld in the exhaust manifold – that particular exhaust manifold having already completed more than two seasons worth of testing mileage both on the dyno and in the car.
Alan Gow, BTCC chief executive, commented, “The fast laps the hybrid car achieved – running on the exact same tires as the rest of the grid, as well as a normal race setup – underlined the inherent performance of the car. And nor was the hybrid system merely ‘cranked up’ to achieve that performance – in fact, as the TSL timing data underlines, setting the fastest lap in race two was achieved despite it not even recording the fastest speed trap times in that race.
“So, we are all delighted with the way the hybrid system ran during the Silverstone race weekend, as the car achieved everything we wanted it to. The main goal was to go through an entire race weekend sequence, putting the car, the system and our partners – Cosworth and M-Sport – through the ‘stress-test’ that a race weekend brings, as well as comparing the performance of the car, albeit at the very beginning of its competitive lifecycle.”