Toyota Gazoo Racing unveiled its all-new TS050 Hybrid at the World Endurance Championship (WEC) Prologue late last-month.
Following a difficult defence of its World Championship titles in 2015, Toyota set itself tough performance targets in order to challenge at the front of a fiercely-competitive WEC field.
The TS050 Hybrid, Toyota’s third new car since joining WEC in 2012, features a significant change in powertrain concept. A 2.4litre, twin-turbo, direct injection V6 petrol engine is combined with an 8MJ hybrid system, both of which are developed by Motor Sport Unit Development Division at Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre.
For 2015, the front and rear motor-generators recover energy under braking, storing it in an all-new high-powered lithium-ion battery. The change from super capacitor to battery storage allows the TS050 to move up to the more-powerful 8MJ hybrid class.
The new powertrain concept brings different cooling and packaging demands, including an updated transmission, and when combined with a new aerodynamic concept, virtually every part on the TS050 chassis has been redesigned.
The team, which includes several new faces, has already been busy testing, covering over 22,000km with positive results. The next test comes when the nine-race WEC season kicks off at Silverstone on 17 April.
“Aside from some principles which have been retained to capitalise on previous years’ development, we have changed every single part. In many areas, like the powertrain and the aerodynamics, the concepts themselves have changed,” explained Pascal Vasselon, technical director. “The aerodynamic concept, and particularly the front face of the car, has changed drastically. We have spent thousands of hours refining this new concept and this time we have done more than incremental changes; we have significantly changed the way we handle the flow structure after the front downforce-generating devices. There has been a significant progress rate in WEC recently so we cannot afford to have any area of the package which is not fully optimised. The TS050 HYBRID has been developed on that basis. We want to be competitive. That is the minimum target we set ourselves – to be back in the game and competitive.”