The 24 Hours of Le Mans has typically been dominated by very efficient diesels but for this year, a new hybrid race car from Toyota will attempt to compete with them. Toyota UK PR boss Scott Brownlee tweeted this first set of images of the hybrid electric drive prototype, which is expected to join the top-tier LMP1 class later this year.
Details about the powertrain haven’t been given yet but it’s believed that the car will use a generous hybrid drivetrain that adds power while at the same time, supplementing power through regenerative braking.
This enables the car to be driven farther with fewer pit stops. This strategy has enabled Audi and Peugeot’s diesels to get the top podium spots in endurance racing. ORECA Racing will handle Toyota’s racing operation.
This team has participated at Le Mans for the past 35 years. In fact, it has always gotten a first place finish in each category it joins. Toyota’s three-man team set to pilot the new hybrid racer at the 2012 endurance classic includes 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre (who won 12 Hour of Sebring last year), and former F1 pilot Kazuki Nakajima. [source: Autoblog]