Le Mans Series

Le Mans Series

Toyota Racing TS030 Hybrid

Last month, the black cloud over Toyota Racing’s head reared up again in the form of one of its drivers crashing the TS030 Hybrid at Paul Ricard circuit bad enough to render it useless. This forced Toyota Racing to cancel the T030’s debut at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

It appears as if the black clouds have cleared up again, as Toyota Racing has announced that a new monocoque is complete and testing will resume almost immediately. This also puts the team on pace to hold true to its promise of debuting on June 16th for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

We’ll be honest in saying that we had our doubts that Toyota could get a monocoque built in time to test before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but Toyota Racing certainly stepped up to the task and pumped out a replacement vehicle. The issue now is that the monocoque the team is testing was slated to be a spare, and now there is no spare. We’re willing to bet that the brass at TR are telling the drivers to mind their Ps and Qs while testing. According to Toyota’s press release, however, TR will be entering two T030s into 24 Hours of Le Mans, so a second monocoque must be in the works.

With only a little more than a month of testing and tinkering to do, this really leaves Toyota with very little time to really adjust the car and allow the drivers to get a feel for it. Yes, it is the same build as the original TS030 , built as with all cars, there is a little variance between each build.

We’re all pulling for Toyota to make a clean return to Le Mans from here on out.

Click past the jump to read Toyota’s press release.

Toyota’s road racing days pretty much grounded to a halt when corporate headquarters pulled the automaker from the F1 program after the 2009 racing season. Since 2009, Toyota Motor Company has shown improvements, as buyers began returning after the car-buying slump ended and the safety issues that plagued the automaker were rectified. This allowed Toyota to start to experiment with road racing again and develop the TS030 Hybrid .

The TS030 Hybrid had its debut race set for the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5th, 2012. Things were looking good for the 3.4-liter V-8-powered TS030 Hybrid until its most recent test run. An undisclosed driver was testing out the TS030 at Paul Ricard and must have had a fairly horrific crash, as Toyota Racing Team President announced that the team could not build a new monocoque – chassis for those that don’t speak race-a-nese – in time for the May 5th debut.

Most people would think “Why not just use a second body; they all have spares, right?" Well, when you are easing your toes back into the racing pool, like Toyota is, you can’t really afford to go blowing millions of dollars building and testing multiple cars. In the future, yes, they will have multiple monocoques, but for now there was only one.

According to the press release, a new monocoque will be ready in time for the June running at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

A few things come to mind here. First off, was Toyota planning on arriving at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with only one monocoque? Secondly, how much of a bum does the driver that thrashed their only vehicle feel right about now? Maybe that’s why they kept wraps on which driver it was that wrecked it.

Well, here’s to a speedy rebuild, Toyota, and we hope to see you in June, sans the black cloud floating over your head.

Hit the jump for the official presser from Toyota Racing and a cool video of the TS030 testing.

The Mazda 787B already holds esteem as one of the most iconic race cars in history, highlighted by its successful win at the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours race. That win make it the first and only Japanese race car to win the prestigious endurance race.

For a race car that holds so much esteem, the folks over at Turn 10 Studios decided to bring the 787B into their game as part of their February ALMS Car Pack.

In this video, we catch up with some of the people responsible for bringing the 787B into the virtual world. More than just the sheer sight of the green-and-orange racer romping Forza 4 , the 787B’s defining quality will always be its four-rotor Wankel engine, the source of what Turn 10 Studios says is the loudest engine they’ve ever recorded.

For something that often falls in the realm of hyperbole, the 787B has a legitimate claim to that title. It’s so loud that it actually beat the TVR Cerbera Speed 12 , a car that packed a sizzling 960 horsepower and 650 lb/ft of torque.

Check out the video and find out the lengths Turn 10 Studios had to go through to fully capture the banshee-like screams of the Mazda 787B. Better yet, turn up the volume and listen to it yourselves!

Very few of us ever actually exceed 100 mph in our lives and even fewer ever exceed 200 mph, so there is only a small group of people that can actually explain what it feels like to drive in excess of 200 mph. One of people that can give us first-hand accounts is five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Derek Bell. Thanks to Motor Sport Magazine’s monthly podcast, we now have an avenue to hear him speak about his high speed antics.

This entertaining interview had several high spots; the first one was his recollection of driving a Porsche 962 at an eye-popping 238 mph, in the rain. He begins by calling driving over 200 mph a surreal experience and saying it’s like being on another world. He then talks about how the rain almost turns into a solid wall of water that you simply cannot see through. He tops it all off by saying “Fortunately, you go around a kink and you can slow down… ‘Cause you’re at the end.” He then continues to chuckle and call the entire experience “awful,” “but you did it.”

When asked what his favorite circuit was, he strangely said “Spa,” referring to Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps, which once featured the feared and once boycotted Masta Kink – a hairpin turn after a long straightaway. See Bell tackle the Spa Circuit and the Masta Kink in the video above.

Bell then spoke about his scariest moment, which also occurred at Spa while driving the Gulf-sponsored Mirage. During testing, he came around the Masta Kink at 190 mph and in the middle of the track was his rookie teammate’s red Lola racecar, obviously broken down or spun out, and he had nowhere to go. He says “To this day, I don’t know what I did. I guess I hit the brakes,” and somehow the Mirage managed to correct itself. After that he pulled into the pit stop, despite having more testing time to go.

The entire podcast is a great listen, if you have an hour to spare. Check it out by clicking here!

Of the few lucky and skilled enough to compete in motor racing, the feeling of getting your juices up during a race is something that very few things in this world can replicate. But for the rest of us that can’t handle a race car, watching races live or on television poses as the next best thing.

And then there’s GoPro , a company that wants to redefine the way we watch races. In these videos, GoPro attaches their tiny little HD Hero2 cameras on the ALMS race cars piloted by Gunnar Jeannette and Ken Dobson, showing us what kind of high-action racing we all should be watching on our screens.

The camera angles are amazing, for lack of a better way to describe it. The multitude of camera angles give us a totally new way of appreciating the thrills of racing, right down to the angle experienced by the pit lane mechanics.

Check out the videos GoPro released and there’s a good chance, you’ll start clamoring for these kind of up-close views on the next televised races you watch.

More videos after the jump!

Source: GoPro
Posted on by Timmy Calloway 13
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT2

The best-selling luxury performance car in the U.S., the Chevrolet Corvette , has finally been inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame after six decades of proving what it can do on the track. The induction is a great birthday present for the Corvette, since 2013 marks its 60th anniversary .

Corvette first competed at Sebring in 1956, and 231 Corvettes have since competed in the Twelve Hours of Sebring race. Corvette has racked up an impressive 24 class wins in this legendary race, with seven of these won by Corvette Racing, the most successful team in the history of the American Le Mans Series. In Sunday’s 60th anniversary race, Corvette Racing placed second and third in the GT Class.

“We are thrilled that Sebring has recognized the success of the Corvette on the race track by inducting it into the hall of fame,” said Russ Clark, Chevrolet marketing director for Performance Cars.

“Even more important than the awards and race wins are the benefits to our production vehicles as a result of our racing programs,” said Clark. “We have been successful at transferring racing technology to the street, especially in our high-performance vehicles such as the Corvette ZR1 , Z06 and our carbon fiber models, including aerodynamic, powertrain, chassis, braking, safety and design features.”

Posted on by Alexander + 0

Lexus has just released a video in which they let Alex Wurz loose on Estoril Circuit in Portugal in their $400,000 LF-A. What did Wurz do? Well, he enjoyed the supercar in the only way a former Formula 1 driver and two-time Le Mans winner knows how.

Wurz let all 552 horsepower go as he raced the supercar around the wet track, drifting through the corners and all. When asked what he thought about the car, Wurz said "I love it. I can just take the car and run away."

The Lexus LF-A is powered by a 4.8 liter V10 that delivers 552 HP at 9,000 RPM and 354 lb-ft of torque at 6,800 RPM, with 90% of the total torque being available between the 3,700 RPM mark and the super car’s 9,000 RPM red line. As a result of such a road torque curve, the LF-A can sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in just 3.7 seconds and won’t stop until it reaches a top speed of 202 MPH.

Check out the video and see the Lexus LF-A doing what it was built to do.

The year 2012 will mark Aston Martin ’s return to the FIA World Endurance Championship with the Vantage GTE entering in the GTE Pro category. A second car will join in the third round at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The cars will be driven by Darren Turner (GBR), Stefan Mücke (D), and Adrian Fernandez (MX).

The new Vantage GTE is based on the Vantage GT2 , but improved upon with significant additions to all areas including the engine, drivetrain, and suspension. The new GTE will be powered by the same 4.7 V8 engine found in the production version , but with significant changes made to the cylinder heads, connecting rods, valves, and camshafts. The engine is coupled to a racing system and a six-speed semi-automatic sequential transmission with competition clutch.

The Aston Martin Vantage GTE’s body is made from lightweight carbon fiber and features an advanced aerodynamic package with a carbon fiber splitter, flat floor and diffuser, and a carbon fiber rear wing designed using the latest computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques. Aston Martin has also added a bespoke wishbone suspension and six-piston Brembo racing calipers.

Aston Martin Lagonda Chairman David Richards shared his enthusiasm for the new project: "It’s great to be returning to our core motorsport activity; production-based GT racing. It formed the basis for Aston Martin’s return to competition when the DBR9 GT1-racer was launched in 2004, and it was in GT racing that we achieved our famous victories at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008."

Toyota Racing has unveiled the first details on the 2012 Le Mans challenger - the new TS030 Hybrid. The race car was built as the successor to the iconic TS010 and TS020 cars which participated at Le Mans with podium success during the 1990s. The Toyota Sport 030 will race at the Le Mans 24 Hours event scheduled for June 16th - 17th, 2012. There will be two cars entering the race.

The new TS030 is powered by a THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System – Racing) powertrain that combines an all-new 3.4 liter normally-aspirated V8 engine with a hybrid system with capacitor storage developed by official team partner Nisshinbo. The car was built on a brand new carbon fiber LMP1 chassis developed and produced at TMG.

The newTS030 Hybrid completed several hundred kilometers, showing an impressive level of reliability and performance for this very early stage in the car’s testing program.

UPDATE 06/04/12: Weeks before its debut at the at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Toyota Racing TS030 Hybrid is now dressed in full racing livery. Toyota even marked the occasion by releasing a new gallery of photos of the car dressed for racing action!

Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Le Mans race car

Talk about a bombshell.

French automaker and Le Mans powerhouse PSA Peugeot Citroen has announced that Peugeot will be dropping out of Le Mans racing indefinitely. The news was first reported by Reuters, saying that the French manufacturer will be solely concentrating all their efforts on improving their sales figures for 2012, thus dropping any other endeavors, including in motorsports.

In a press release sent to the media, Peugeot confirmed this stunning turn of events, saying that "this decision has been taken against the backdrop of the challenging economic environment in Europe coupled with a particularly busy year for the Brand in terms of new vehicle launches."

The news that Peugeot is dropping out of Le Mans comes as a shock to a lot of racing fans, particularly those that have seen and witnessed the company’s recent dominance in the series, as well as its well-chronicled rivalry with Audi .

We’re not quite sure how the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans is going to play out now that one of the perennial contenders has withdrawn their entry to the field, but Audi is probably uncorking a bottle of champagne.

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