Toyota Racing revealed the 2013 version of its TS030 endurance racer Tuesday and will begin on-track testing of the new car on France’s Paul Ricard circuit Wednesday.
Toyota has entered a pair of the gasoline-electric hybrids in the 2013 ACO-FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the 90th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The car is an updated version of the 2012 model, which earned the factory three wins in six races with a single entry while facing two or sometimes three Audi R18 e-tron hybrids.
“I am very excited by the new season and I cannot wait for it to start,” said team principal Yoshiaki Kinoshita in a team press statement. “We achieved more than we expected in 2012 but this only motivates us to push harder and enjoy more success.”
According to Kinoshita, Toyota hopes to win both the WEC championship and at Le Mans in 2013.
“We took three out of six WEC races in 2012, and led Le Mans as well, so we showed not only potential, but solid results too,” he said. As a team we made big progress last year; we are still developing as a team but we can be proud of our hard work and fast learning.
“I believe it is realistic to target both titles but it will certainly not be easy; clearly we face an extremely strong competitor. It is a big challenge to become number one. We have huge respect for Audi’s achievements and abilities, so we expect an exciting competition in WEC this year.”
As with the 2012 car, construction, development, and competition is being handled by Toyota Motorsports GmbH in Germany, while the power plant has been designed and constructed by Toyota’s Motor Sports Division in Higashifuji, Japan. The version’s super-capacitor electric hybrid system is rated at 300 bhp while its 3.4-liter V8 produces 530 bhp.
The electric motors add their power to the rear wheels when exiting corners, getting the car up to speed quickly before cutting out to let the gasoline motor propel the car to the next breaking zone, where the friction of braking recharges the capacitor.
The motor has been thoroughly revised to improve power, efficiency, and reliability. Attention has also been paid to the chassis, to adapt to the added 15 kg of weight specified in the 2013 regulations, while the lessons of aerodynamic research have been applied to the car’s bodywork.
According to racing expert Mike Fuller (mulsannescorner.com) the new chassis has eliminated the redundant front hybrid motor mounting points of the 2012 chassis.
Toyota originally designed the TS030 to accept either rear-or front-wheel hybrid drive. (Audi’s electric motor drives the front wheels.) Toyota apparently has decided that the rear tires can handle the added torque, and the rear motor location gives a more compact and better-balanced package.
Drivers Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima will return to pilot the No. 7 car, while the 2012 Le Mans crew of Anthony Davidson, Stéphane Sarrazin, and Sébastien Buemi will be in the No. 8 for the full 2013 season.
The first race of the 2103 WEC season will be the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 14. Tickets can be purchased through the Silverstone.co.uk website.
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