2014 is shaping up to be a big year for motorsports. It’s the first year in a while that we’ll see Porsche jump back into endurance racing, and Audi is ready to defend its title with its R18. However, a new challenger arises, and like the Six Million Dollar Man, it’s better… stronger… faster. It’s the Toyota TS040 Hybrid LMP1, and it’s primed and ready to take on the 2014 World Endurance Championship with its hybrid powertrain blazin’.
The new race car was revealed this week at France’s Paul Ricard track, and it’s been tuned from the outgoing model – the TS030 Hybrid LMP1 – to fit all the new regulations put in place by the FIA. On the outside, that means it’s about 2 inches narrower than the TS030, but on the inside it’s both more powerful and more eco-friendly.
Looking at the numbers, Toyota has informed us that the new TS040 gets an upgraded 3.7L V8 engine that outputs a hefty 513hp. Although that’s 17hp less than the old TS030’s 3.4L V8, the new engine will also be paired with a new AWD hybrid system, which uses two electric motors – one for the front and one for the rear – along with a supercapacitor to tie the whole thing together. You can see a demonstration of the new hybrid system in the video below:
Taken together, the engine, front-end Aisin AW electric motor, back-end Denso electric motor and the Nisshinbo supercapacitor can output 986hp – 513hp from the engine and 473hp from the motors. If that weren’t enough, the extra motor and improved Kinetic Energy Recovery System allow the car to attain 25% lower fuel consumption, and the AWD configuration allows for superior driving dynamics over last year’s RWD model.
As you might notice, the engine-motor-capacitor configuration is strikingly similar to what we’ve seen in the Toyota Yaris Hybrid R and the Toyota FT-1 Concept, and the improved fuel economy is what allows the TS040 to adhere to the new 2014 WEC standards.
In addition to the improved mechanics of the TS040, the racecar has also been made more aerodynamic than the previous iteration. The revised aerodynamics allow the TS040 to use slightly narrower tires without sacrificing traction, thanks to the extra downforce of the new design. All in all, the car weighs in at 100 lbs less than the TS030. The new LMP1 racer also gets a couple new safety features, as required by championship regulations.
At the TS040 Hybrid LMP1’s unveiling, Toyota informed us that they will once again bring two cars to the track. One will be driven by Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima. The other will be shared by Nicolas Lapierre, Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson. Even as we speak, the car is being tested at the Le Castellet track in preparation for the first race of the WEC season – 6 Hours of Silverstone – which will take place on April 20th.