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Toyota launches new WEC challenger


Toyota has revealed the all-new TS050 HYBRID, the car which will compete in the 2016 Sportscar World Endurance Championship (WEC) competition.

The TS050 Hybrid is Toyota’s third new car since joining WEC in 2012 and features a significant change in powertrain concept.

A 2.4-litre, twin-turbo, direct injection V6 petrol engine is combined with an 8MJ hybrid system, both of which were developed by the Motor Sport Unit Development Division at Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre. The combined output of the engine and hybrid system is 736 kWs.

A new generation turbo engine with direct injection is better suited to the current regulations which limit fuel flow to the engine, and provides opportunity to continue technology and knowledge transfer from the track to road cars.

Toyota’s previous WEC sportscars, including the 2014 championship winning car had a 3.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 motor.

Like Toyota road cars, the front and rear motor-generators recover energy under braking, storing it in a high-powered lithium-ion battery and releasing it as boost for maximum efficiency. The change from super capacitor to battery storage allows the TS050 Hybrid to move up to the more-powerful 8MJ hybrid class.

With turbo engines increasingly in use on the road, Toyota expects to use the technology and know-how from WEC to make ever-better road cars.

A new powertrain brings different cooling and packaging demands, including an updated transmission to handle the significant increase in torque delivered by the turbo engine. Combined with a new aerodynamic package means virtually every part on the TS050 Hybrid chassis has been redesigned by Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Germany.

Powertrain components have played their part too in the improved aerodynamic performance of the TS050 HYBRID; by relocating the front motor-generator unit, better under-floor air flow has been achieved which will contribute to overall performance. Suspension kinematics have also been revised to optimise tyre wear.

The team has covered over 22,000kms of testing and the nine-race WEC season kicks off at Silverstone on 17 April.

“Our clear target this year is to compete again at the front, after a very disappointing 2015 season,” said Toshio Sato, the Team President.”In Higashi-Fuji and Cologne, there has been a huge effort to prepare for this season; everyone is highly motivated and pushing together to get back onto the centre of the podium.”

The adoption of the 2.4 litre V6, direct injection, twin turbo engine achieves the best balance of power and efficiency as the regulations have reduced fuel flow by 7.5 percent for 2016.

The 2014 World Champions Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi are again joined by former Le Mans pole position winner Kazuki Nakajima to form a potent partnership in one car.

Multiple Le Mans pole position winner Stéphane Sarrazin links up with fellow WEC race winner Mike Conway in the second car, where they are joined by Formula 1 podium finisher Kamui Kobayashi, promoted from test and reserve driver.

“I’m looking forward to getting started this season with the new TS050 HYBRID,” said Davidson. I’m really impressed with the TS050 HYBRID; I like the different sound of the turbo engine and the 8MJ system is a huge step forward. All the drivers feel that and it makes us realize what we were missing last year. I can’t wait to experience it in race conditions.”

Buemi said the new car is definitely a big step forward. “Our chassis has always been quite competitive and we’ve tried to make it even better and we have developed a lot in all areas. Obviously we have put a huge amount of effort into the engine as well as the hybrid system and we can already see the positive results.”

Nakajima likes the new engine and hybrid system. “It’s impressive how powerful 8MJ is and the duration of the boost is really cool; this is something really positive for us this season.”