26 January 2012

Toyota returned to Le Mans with TS030 Hybrid LMP1

Toyota will compete in 2012 Le Mans with its new TS030 Hybrid LMP1 racer. Sets to compete with the dominant diesel challenger such as Audi, as Peugeot has already departed, Toyota has banked its hope on what it dubbed as THS-R ( Toyota Hybrid System - Racing), essentially a 3.4L naturally-aspirated V8 hooked to a Nisshinbo hybrid system that does away without batteries.

The deletion of the battery systems were replaced by capacitors that performed as a storage medium.  Whereas the 3.4L 90deg V8 engine sits midship in the carbon fibre LMP1 chassis developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH driving the rear wheel, Toyota is yet to decide whether the hybrid system will power either front or rear wheel. The regulation stipulated the allowance of an all-wheel-drive, but both end can't be driven simultaneously. 

The racecar is 4,650mm long, 2,000mm wide and 1,030mm tall. The V8 engine channelled its drive to the rear wheel via a 6 speed sequential gearbox made with aluminium casing. Independent double-wishbones suspension with push-rod activation torsion bar spring suspended the car on its 18" rims.
Toyota has confirmed that they will field two TS030 at Le Mans this year. The first car will be driven a combo of Kazuki Nakajima, Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre. The car will make it debut in 6 hours Spa Endurance championship. The drivers of the second for the Le Mans are to be confirmed at  a later date. For more technical information on the Toyota TS030, head to Mulsanne Corner Le Mans. More photos of the TS030 after the jump.

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