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  Toyota TS030 Hybrid
 

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Country of origin:Japan
Produced in:2012
Numbers built:4
Engine type:Hybrid
Designed by:Toyota Motorsport GmbH
Predecessor:Toyota GT-One
Successor:Toyota TS030 Hybrid
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 31, 2012
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWhen Toyota switched from endurance racing to Formula 1 at the end of the 1999 season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans was still very much unfinished business for the Japanese manufacturer. In their final outing in the legendary event with the GT-One TS020, victory was literally within grasps until a puncture in the dying minutes allowed one of the BMWs to get ahead. Throughout Toyota's tenure in F1, there was talk of an imminent return but it eventually took until late in 2011 before the comeback was finally announced.

One of the deciding factors for Toyota to return to sports car racing was the accommodation made in the regulations for hybrid power-trains. Pioneering the technology on road cars, this would allow the Japanese manufacturer to showcase its potential on the race track as well. Back in Japan, a competition version of the hybrid system was already under development. Its first application was for the Supra HV-R that won the Tokashi 24-Hour Race in 2007. In the following years, much of the development work focused on shedding excess weight to make the system viable for use on a potential Le Mans car.

While similar in concept, Toyota Motorsport's hybrid system does not use conventional batteries to store the energy but ultra- or supercapacitors. Among the racing-specific advantages of using these supercapacitors is that they can be charged and de-charged very quickly and can also sustain a large number of charge cycles without any noticeable degradation. Among the reasons why they are not quite as practical for road applications (yet) are the relatively low storage capacity/weight ratio, the high self-discharge rate and the more complicated electronics required to make the most of the supercapacitors.

For the conventional engine, the regulations offered several choices of which Toyota picked the naturally aspirated petrol option. Used by the Rebellion team, a suitable 3.4-litre V8 was already available, but Toyota's engineers nevertheless decided to develop a new engine from the ground up. Like the Formula Nippon / SuperGT derived unit made available to customers, Toyota's new engine was once again a 3.4 litre V8. No further details have been released at this time, so we can not say to what extent the two V8s differ but it is safe to assume the new engine has been optimised for endurance racing.

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  Article Image gallery (89) Specifications