Back in 2008, Toyota did mention that they intend to debut a hybrid-powered racing car to be used for the Le Mans racing series. Not many details were given at that time until now, when about a week ago, Toyota showed photos of their TS030 hybrid racing car going through tests at a race track in France.
Toyota Racing will build two cars for their participation in the upcoming FIA World Endurance Championship. A team of professional drivers has been confirmed and they will debut the car at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May this year. The team will consist of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima.
Toyota is the first manufacturer to enter the endurance series with a hybrid-powered car and it stresses Toyota’s approach towards this technology which has helped them to sell over three million hybrid cars worldwide. The THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System-Racing) features a 3.4 litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine and together with a hybrid system and a capacitor storage which was developed by official team partner Nisshinbo.
The front two wheels are powered by a hybrid motor system developed by Aisin AW and the rear wheels are powered by a Denso developed system. This configuration was made to meet necessary racing regulations where only one hybrid motor is allowed to power only two wheels at a time.
Toyota’s entry into the endurance racing series with a hybrid-powered race car may bring up some negative public perception in hybrid-powered racing cars as most racing fans still prefer “oil-burning” engines. Only time will tell whether that perception will change positively.
Photo credit: blogs.automotive.com and Wikipedia