Can the all-new Toyota Hybrid upstarts challenge the Audi juggernaut and their_AWD turbo diesel hybrid R18 e-tron quattro’s?
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- June 8, 2012
Toyota TS030 Hybrid – An LMP1 entrant ready to do battle with the world’s best.
Toyota Racing is now ready and able to do battle in the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours in France. And they are doing so using an all-new SuperCap equipped hybrid drivetrain.
The TS030 Hybrid represents the culmination of an intense preparation for the team, during which this new technology has been tested and refined for motorsport’s ultimate challenge; the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The team has implemented a DENSO rear hybrid motor situated within the gearbox casing. Energy is recovered under braking and stored in super capacitors, located in the cockpit, to provide additional boost on corner exit, up to the regulatory maximum of 500Kj between braking zones.
While the hybrid powertrain has been produced by the Motor Sport Division of Toyota Motor Corporation at Higashifuji in Japan, the TS030 HYBRID chassis has been developed and manufactured by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Cologne, Germany. TMG also provides the team’s home base and on-track personnel.
You remember TMG from yesterday, right? The 150 mph all-electric that will be taking on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and the “Race to the Clouds”?
Pikes Peak to Host an All-Electric Shootout
With little in the way of years of development before it, the TS030 Hybrid saw its first track day occur on January 13th, with just 18 day of testing under its belt since its conception.
Challenges include optimizing such new technology in a time frame most would consider unfathomable as well as the loss of one monocoque in a testing accident, Toyota says progress is being made as they go to Le Mans aiming to continue this development whilst simultaneously proving the performance potential of the THS-R (R for racing I have to assume?) system.
Le Mans 24 Hours
The qualifiers begin on Wednesday June 13 with practice and first qualifying followed by a second qualifying and final qualifying on the 14th. Following a Saturday morning warm-up, the Le Mans 24 Hours begins promptly at 03:00 PM local.
The ceremonial flag-waving to officially start the Le Mans 24 Hours will be carried out by Takeshi Uchiyamada, Executive Vice President of TOYOTA Motor Corporation, hybrid pioneer and the man responsible for the Toyota Prius
In a prepared statement, Toyota Racing’s Team President Yoshiaki Kino****a said the following:
“This is a learning year for Toyota Racing but nevertheless we set ourselves high standards, so we want to prove the performance potential of the hybrid system and the TS030 Hybrid. We know it is not easy to face such experienced opponents and we face a steep learning curve, but the ultimate medium-term target for this project is to win Le Mans so we aim to take a big step in this direction in 2012. Toyota is a pioneer in the field of hybrid technology so Toyota Racing benefits from this immense experience and knowledge. This is a new technology in motorsport terms so there are many things to learn and develop, but Hisatake Murata and his hybrid project team, as well as the hybrid vehicle development division at Toyota Motors have been working on these systems in racing for several years already. This gives us a unique knowledge which we hope to demonstrate. At the same time, TMG has been developing the TS030 Hybrid chassis with a team led by John Litjens. They have put all our knowledge or aerodynamics, simulation and systems into this car and we are really proud of the result.”
While an all-new technology being placed at the forefront under possibly the most demanding race in all of motorsports is heroic, up against the very seasoned Audi teams with their (2) R18 e-tron quattro’s and (2) R18 Ultra TDI’s, it is going to be a very steep uphill battle. As with all Toyota projects, the learning curve will be a steep one with mistakes being rectified in the shortest time frame possible and R&D continuing at a frantic pace until such time that they really can and will place a winner on the track. Taking the Le Mans 24 hour classic would be a huge stretch this year but watch out. Toyota is in it for the long haul and who knows, we may be driving Gen IV SuperCap equipped Prius’ in just 3 short years from now