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Toyota’s new LMP1 car will be restricted by the FIA
The all-conquering hybrid will be shackled by new regulations
At the hands of Sebastien Buemi, Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima, Toyota’s dominant TS050 has won the previous two Le Mans 24hrs races, as well as last season’s WEC title. Now though, the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest have moved to bridge the gap between the updated version that you see above and its competitors.
The problem, if you’d consider it a problem, is that Toyota’s hybrid system makes the TS050 both quicker and more efficient than the ICE cars of Rebellion Racing and Team LNT – the only other teams left in LMP1.
As you’ll know, those are both pretty key factors in endurance racing, and although the sport was once keen to aid the development of hybrid tech, it’s now been forced to peg it back.
So, let’s run through the ‘Equivalence of Technology’ changes. As of next season, the two Toyotas will carry an extra 14kg in ballast and will have their fuel tanks reduced in size.
The updated TS050, with its new aero at the front, will also refuel one second slower to compensate for the fact that it can restart in electric mode in the pitlane, and a success handicap will peg back those doing better in the championship.
With the new hypercar regulations set to come into force in the 2020/21 season, these rules will only serve as a stop-gap solution before the TS050’s retirement, but it will surely make for closer racing.
We’ll find out for sure when the WEC season starts at the 4 Hours of Silverstone on 1st September, but where do you stand on this? Should Toyota be pegged back or should it have been down to their competitors to keep up? Answers and arguments in the comments below please…