Toyota Racing has unveiled its TS040 Hybrid car and revised driver line-up for the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship. The TS040 Hybrid boasts of up to 1000 PS of output, thanks to a combo of 480 PS of four-wheel-drive hybrid and 520PS 3.7-liter petrol engine – making it the most advanced hybrid in racing.
The shift to a fwd hybrid marks Toyota return to a concept that has been part of its racing hybrid development since 2007.The new Toyota Hybrid System - Racing powertrain was developed to comply with the revised WEC technical regulations that has placed more focus on fuel economy. For the 2014 season, fielded vehicles should feature 25-percent cut in fuel usage compared to last season.
Teams will try to achieve fuel savings via powertrain, aerodynamics and driving style efficiencies. A fuel flow meter will monitor fuel usage, and organizers will impose penalties if the three-lap average consumption exceeds set limits. The fuel allowance is gauged by the level of hybrid capacity each team commits to with Toyota Racing committing for 6MJ of hybrid capacity per lap of Le Mans.
In collaboration with official partner TOTAL, engineers at Toyota Racing were able to find further efficiencies and performance by using specialist TOTAL lubricants. The new yet more open FIA WEC regulations have permitted Toyota Racing to implement a major surge in hybrid power, adding an AISIN AW motor-generator on the front axle to compliment the DENSO unit on the rear.
When decelerating, the motor-generators apply braking force along with conventional mechanical brakes to capture energy, and transfer it via inverter (AISIN AW at the front, DENSO at the rear) to the NISSHINBO super-capacitor. When accelerating, the motor-generator does otherwise, serving as a motor to provide a 480 PS power boost.
This hybrid power backs up a normally-aspirated V8 engine, which are both developed by Motor Sports Unit Development Division at the company’s Higashifuji technical center. The knowledge gained from the TS030 Hybrid is already being applied to improve the carmaker’s road car hybrids. Toyota has sold around 6million hybrid road cars since launching the Prius in 1997.
Pascal Vasselon, Technical Director: “We started the initial studies and simulations immediately when the ACO announced the first elements of the regulations in mid-2012 and last season we devoted a lot of our available resources to developing the TS040 HYBRID. In terms of the aerodynamics and chassis concept, the TS040 HYBRID is a deep evolution of the TS030 HYBRID, taking into account the new dimensions as set by the regulations and implementing the lessons we learned in the last two years of WEC competition. New regulations always create a challenge and the obvious challenges for 2014 have been to change so many things at the same time, with significant regulation changes in terms of chassis and powertrain. The main challenge has been to create a more complex car with more hybrid hardware to achieve higher hybrid power and at the same time reduce significantly the weight due to a 45kg reduction in minimum weight. That has been a real headache but using lightweight materials and efficient design optimisation processes, we have achieved our targets.” [source: Toyota]