Toyota unveils hybrid race car for new WEC season

Toyota unveils hybrid race car for new WEC season

Toyota Gazoo Racing has unveiled the race car it will field in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this year. In line with new hypercar regulations, the GR010 Hybrid features an all-wheel-drive powertrain with system power capped at 500kW.

With the start of the 2021 season, the LMH ("Le Mans Hypercar") class will replace the previous top class LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1). This will be accompanied by the use of a new vehicle category, namely that of the hyper sports cars. Toyota Gazoo Racing is relying on a hybrid: while a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 engine delivers 500 kW to the rear wheels, a 200 kW motor-generator unit developed by Aisin AW and Denso sits at the front axle. As a maximum system output of 500 kW is permitted under the regulations, intelligent electronics reduce the output in line with the amount of hybrid boost used.

The GR010 Hybrid is a prototype race car and has been jointly developed over the past 18 months by engineers at the race team's headquarters in Cologne and hybrid electric drive experts at the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Japan. The distinctive look of the racing prototype is reminiscent of a planned road-legal offshoot first seen at last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, but which is currently still in development. The name of the road racer - GR Super Sport Hypercar - is something to keep in mind, however.

The new race regulations are partly aimed at reducing the cost of the race cars, with the new GR010 Hybrid being 162 kilograms heavier and having 32 per cent less power than its predecessor, the TS050 Hybrid. "As a result, lap times at Le Mans are expected to be around ten seconds slower. The dimensions are also significantly different from the TS050 Hybrid: the GR010 Hybrid is 250 millimetres longer, 100 millimetres wider and 100 millimetres taller," Toyota Gazoo Racing shares. It also says that, for the first time, there is no engine-generator unit in the rear, but there is an additional starter motor. In addition, fully hydraulic brakes on the rear axle are compulsory this year. And: only a single homologated body package with only one adjustable aerodynamic device is permitted. "The GR010 Hybrid will therefore compete on both low and high downforce tracks in the same specification, with an adjustable rear wing modifying the aerodynamic characteristics"