Toyota reveals 2013 Le Mans racer
Updated hybrid LMP1 competitor unveiled, and it’s gunning for the top spot...
People of Ingolstadt, pay attention: this is the new Toyota TS030 Hybrid racer. And it has been built to beat you.
Toyota Racing has announced that as of today, its new, updated sportscar racer set for the World Endurance Championship will begin testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France.
You may remember this car. Last year, a pair of TS030s made their Le Mans debuts in the LMP1 class, and put up a fine show against the dominant Audi R18s. Right up until a) one of the cars was taken out by a Ferrari, breaking driver Anthony Davidson's back, and b) the second car's engine failed after a collision with the Nissan DeltaWing.
Not the most salubrious of La Sarthe premieres, but here's hoping to a better turn of fortune this year, at least to break Audi's Death Grip on the Le Mans leaderboard (eleven titles and counting, thankyouverymuch).
The important parts remain the same: a 530bhp 3.4-litre normally aspirated V8 engine meets 300bhp worth of super capacitor-based electric motor, making it a hybrid. A hybrid that sounds like a one-tonne light sabre being switched on (check out the video below of last year's car). It's had a thorough going over too, with better performance, reliability and serviceability all taking priority.
It gets a revised aerodynamic package - including an updated monocoque - that will help counteract the new regulations this year requiring the minimum weight of the entrants to rise by 15kg.
Toyota has also confirmed its driver line up: Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima will pilot car #7, while Anthony Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastien Buemi (formerly of Toro Rosso fame) will drive car #8.
It'll make its race debut - assuming it doesn't suffer in testing like it did last year - at Silverstone on 14 April. But the one you really want to keep an eye out for is 22 June at Le Mans. It's Audi vs Toyota, round 2...
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