Toyota chases World Endurance Championship glory with new TS050
Toyota has thoroughly reworked its World Endurance Championship racer for 2016, with a revised aerodynamics package and a more advanced hybrid system to keep the TS050 ahead of Porsche and Audi's hybrid Le Mans racers.
The new TS050 is Toyota's third new car since it rejoined the World Endurance Championship in 2012. With a 2.4-liter, twin-turbo V6 coupled to an 8MJ hybrid system, the endurance racer has a combined system output of 736 kW (987 hp). As well as helping to produce that hefty power figure, the TS050's V6 has been tweaked to better suit the new WEC regulations, which are tighter on fuel flow. The changes should also improve fuel efficiency, helping the TS050 to make the most of its 62.5 liter (16.5 gal) fuel tank.
That 736 kW is split equally between the 368 kW (493 hp) V6 and its hybrid backup drawing its power from a Toyota-developed lithium-ion battery, which replaces the TS040's supercapacitor and allows the new car to move into a the more powerful 8MJ hybrid class. Power is put to the road through a transverse-mounted seven-speed sequential gearbox.
With the new powertrain setup comes a new set of aerodynamic challenges, which forced engineers to relocate the front motor generator unit and redesign the underbody for more efficient airflow. There's also revised kinematics on the car's independent double-wishbone, pushrod suspension system for reduced tire wear. Small tweaks to suspension setups might sound like small changes, but if successful the revisions should help cut down on the amount of time spent in the pits – a factor which can play a big part in deciding a race.
The whole package is stopped by ventilated front and rear carbon disc brakes, which hide behind 18-inch Rays magnesium alloy wheels.
The TS050 will go head to head with Audi's diesel R18 and Porsche's V4 919 Hybrid in this year's World Endurance Championship, which kicks off at Silverstone in April.