Not Your Normal Prius: Toyota Enters New Hybrids at LeMans
The new car, built by German-based Toyota Motorsport GmbH, the shop which built and operated Toyota’s F1 cars (and the GT-One Le Mans cars) is powered by a 3.4-liter gasoline V8 and a capacitor-storage electric motor recharged by braking. Tests are still underway to determine if the electric motor will ultimately power the front or the rear wheels.
The TS030 Hybrid has already successfully completed several hundred miles around the Paul Ricard test track in two days of testing in mid-January.
In a field dominated by turbocharged diesels, Toyota chose a hybrid gas/electric powertrain for both performance and publicity reasons.
“The regulations for hybrid powertrains allow us to recover energy under braking and release this to improve acceleration out of a corner, delivering lap-time benefit,” said Technical Director Pascal Vasselon on Toyota.co.uk. “For any given performance level, a hybrid powertrain will achieve this with less fuel so it is an extremely relevant technology and one we are excited to be bringing to endurance racing.”
Toyota has already sold more than 3.5 million road-going hybrids; this racing model emphasizes how important hybrid technology will be for the factory’s future models.