The ugliest Toyota ever?
The new TS 040
Toyota has unveiled its endurance race car for this year. By the look of it, it doesn’t stand a chance, although the race car of Audi and Porsche are not exactly beautiful, either. Luckily for the Japanese maker, speed is what counts in this genre.
The TS040 is the evolution of last year’s car, and just like its predecessor, has a hybrid drive train, but a more complicated one this time. The continuous drive is provided by a 3.7-litre, 520 PS V8 engine, but the new car also has two 240 PS electric motors, one for each axle. To make electric power output as effective as possible, a supercapacitor system is used, so even 1000 PS is possible for a few seconds. The use of two electric motors also makes for efficient energy recovery, as some energy can also be fed back by the braking of the front shaft.
The top teams all use similar methods, by the way. The Audi R18 e-Tron has a 4-litre turbo diesel V6 engine working in synergy with the electric motors, the Porsche 919 has a 2-litre twin turbo petrol V4 doing the same, but similar combinations of electric and internal-combustion engines are used everywhere these days. This, of course, is no coincidence. The primary reason for the last modification of the rules was to help such methods come to the fore.
The new race car of the Japanese may look like a pushboat turned upside down, but will probably be just as fast as the last car of Toyota, if not faster. The question is whether it is reliable enough to put the depressing, decade-long advantage of Audi at risk.