In a seemingly immediate response to Porsche’s 2017 919 Hybrid WEC race car, Toyota have introduced their updated TS050 Hybrid race car which will carry its hopes in the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and this year’s Le Mans 24 hour competition.
The team has a clear target to earn its first Le Mans victory, after coming close no less than on five different occasions, including the extraordinary near miss in 2016.
Developed across its two technical centres in Higashi-Fuji and Cologne, the 2017 car includes a new engine, optimised hybrid system and updated the aerodynamics to suit FIA’s 2017 regulations of (miximum) two aero configurations per car.
The TS050 is powered by a new 2.4-litre V6 turbo-charged petrol engine combined with the 8MJ hybrid system.
The new engine optimises thermal efficiency by increasing the compression ratio via development of the combustion chamber, cylinder block and cylinder head. Motor generator units (MGU) have been reduced in size and weight while the high-powered lithium-ion battery has been developed further.
Toyota Gazoo Racing has modified its aerodynamics of the TS05 using computational fluid dynamics modelling and wind tunnel testing to meet the new regulations. A raised nose and sharp undercut to the side pods are the most noticeable modifications.
The 2017-specification TS050 HYBRID has already recorded over 30,000km in testing this year, comprising five tests, at Paul Ricard, Motorland Aragon and Portimao, and including four 30-hour endurance tests.
The 2017 driver line-up includes former World Champions and multiple WEC race winners such as Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Sebastien Buemi.
Toyota Gazoo Racing heads to the season opener on 16 April at Silverstone with great determination, but expecting a close and exciting nine-race LMP1 season with Porsche.
Histake Murata, Toyota Racing Hybrid project peader adds, “Although the TS050 HYBRID shares the same name as the 2016 car, its performance has been greatly improved by reviewing the powertrain and enhancing efficiency in all areas. Toyota Gazoo Racing’s biggest goal for this year, as always, is winning Le Mans.