Toyota Racing TS040 Hybrid LMP1 Details:
- Launched at Circuit Paul Ricard in France
- 512hp 3.7L V8 and 473hp hybrid boost couple for 985 total hp
- New aero contends with 5cm narrower tire compared to 2013
- TS040's first race will be Six Hours of Silverstone on April 20
Motorsports fans, especially those who keep up with big-time endurance racing, should recognize the prototype pictured as Toyota Racing's, in part because it looks a lot like the car it's replacing. You won't be blamed for mistaking the TS040 Hybrid LMP1 with the TS030 that preceded it - but the TS040, introduced earlier today at Circuit Paul Ricard in France, is a whole lot more powerful and efficient than the outgoing Toyota Racing model.
The changes were prompted by revised rules for the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship and involve everything from fuel economy to increases in hybrid power to aerodynamics. Take for example the regs that now say cars in the premiere P1 Class, where the TS040 Hybrid LMP1 competes, must use 25 percent less fuel than they did in 2013. The prototype does this with better aero efficiency, greater dependence on hybrid power and the use of specialty Total lubricants.
All-wheel-drive hybrid power supplants the rear-wheel-drive setup found in the TS030. The TS040's naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V8 makes 512 horsepower, while an Aisin AW motor-generator up front and Denso unit on the rear axle add another 473hp to the mix, resulting in 985 total ponies. Under decel, the motor-generators apply braking force along with traditional brakes to harvest energy, which is transferred through inverter to a super capacitor; under acceleration, the motor-generator reverses function, delivering a power boost.
Regulation changes mean the cars are now 10 centimeters narrower, and critically tires have seen their maximum width reduced by 5cm. Via wind tunnel testing, Toyota Racing engineers have come up with aero to combat this that both reduces drag and increases down force.
Piloting these badass machines will by the same bunch of drivers as last year with a slight reshuffle. Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima will again be in the No. 7 TS040, now joined by Stephane Sarrazin, who was in the No. 8 in 2013. Sarrazin replaces Nicolas Lapierre, who will share the No. 8 car with returning drivers Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi.
Testing is already well underway, the team completing 12 days and over 11,000 miles in the Toyota Racing TS040. More is on the horizon before the car heads for its first real challenge in the heat of battle at the Six Hours of Silverstone in England on April 20.