The 2016 World Endurance Championship kicks off in less than a month, and Toyota has just unveiled its newest Le Mans Prototype racer. Replacing last year's TS040 Hybrid car is the Toyota TS050 Hybrid, which will take on other LMP1 Hybrid racers from Porsche and Audi.
Toyota made significant changes to the hybrid powertrain. For starters, the automaker has ditched the TS040's naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-8 in favor of a 2.4-liter twin-turbo, direct injection V-6. Toyotasays the movewas necessary due to new regulations requiring a reduction in fuel consumption by about 7.5 percent compared to last year. Toyota says the twin-turbo V-6 makes 493 hp, which is slightly less than the 513 hp from the outgoing V-8.
Another big change is the switch from a super capacitor energy storage system to a lithium-ion battery. According to Toyota,the system provides more energy and qualifies the TS050 to join Porsche in the 8MJ Hybrid class (TS040 was a 6MJ racer). Like the TS040, the TS050 Hybrid features two electric motors, one at the front axle and another at the back. This system contributes another 493 hp, or20 more horses than the TS040's hybrid system.
Other tweaks include the relocation of the front electric motor for better aerodynamics and revised suspension geometry to prolong tire life. The 2016 WEC seasons kicks off on April 17 atSilverstone while the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for June 18. Toyota has been unable to nab first place in its four previous Le Mans attemptsincluding last year's race where Porsche took the top two spots, with Audi placing third.