Toyota jumps into the 8-megajoule energy class with its new TS050 race car

It’s no secret Toyota has been struggling with is TS Hybrid racer. The TS030 failed to finish in 2012, and in 2013, it only came in second. For 2014, a narrower car was required per FIA regulations, and during development, Toyota added a new Aisin electric motor and AWD to its new TS040 Hybrid. Toyota Racing finished first in 2014, but that was short lived, with 2015 being a disappointment.

This year, Toyota went back to the drawing board and came up with a new hybrid racer called the TS050 Hybrid (big surprise there, right?). The name isn’t exactly original, but Toyota’s LMP1 racer did take on some significant changes. Debuting at the Pail Ricard circuit in France, the racer features a new powertrain concept, as well as a new energy storage system, a redesigned chassis, and some minor changes outside.

Toshio Sato, the Team President of Toyota Gazoo Racing, said, "Our clear target this year is to compete again at the front, after a very disappointing 2015 season. In Higashi-Fuji and Cologne, there has been a huge effort to prepare for this season; everyone is highly motivated and pushing together to get back onto the centre of the podium.”

So far, the TS050 Hybrid has covered nearly 14,000 miles in testing, with another test taking place right now at the Pail Ricard Circuit. Its first official race will be at the 6 hours of Silverstone on April 17th, when the World Endurance Championship kicks off. So, now that we’ve covered a little bit about the TS050, let’s look deeper into what the engineers did to give Toyota the upper hand in this year’s season.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1.

  • 2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Displacement:
    2.4 L
  • car segment:
  • body style:

0Exterior0

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 Exterior
- image 670824
The front spoiler looks the same, but the headlights are completely different.

Aside from the significantly different red, white, and black livery, there really isn’t a whole lot of change you can spot with an untrained eye. For the most part, the car looks the same, as it must comply with specific regulations. In front, the nose has been refined, and the body panels on each side of the nose are now a bit taller. The front spoiler looks the same, but the headlights are completely different. On the TS040, the headlight assemblies were almost kidney-bean shaped, with the lower lights sitting just a little farther inward than the upper lights. On the TS050, these headlight assemblies are now much larger, covering almost the entire front portion of the fenders.

From the side, we see a similar body design, but there are some changes. Most notably, the car looks a little shorter than the TS040, and the cockpit may sit a little farther back than before. There’s less space between the intake wing and the rear vertical wing. Most importantly, however, the side shows the biggest change in the aerodynamics department. You can’t tell from the front, but the headlights and the front fenders are more slanted in the front. On the TS040, the headlights on the front fender sat almost perfectly upright. Looking at the side of the TS050, we can see the front of the fenders and the headlights now have a significant grade to them, probably somewhere around 20 percent.

0Interior0

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 Exterior
- image 670827

Per usual, we don’t get to see what the interior looks like. Naturally, the cabin will feature the standard racing appointments found in all other LMP1 racecars. There will be a racing steering wheel that features a number of controls, as well as a display screen that provides important information. Except to see a single seat with a racing harness and an onboard fire extinguisher. Until we get to see an image of the interior, however, we don’t know the exact layout. If information becomes available, we will be sure to update you accordingly.

0Drivetrain0

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 Exterior
- image 670822
The TS050 is powered by a 2.4-liter, gasoline-fueled V-6 that's combined with an 8-megajoule hybrid system

Since the TS050 has a new drivetrain concept, it’s the most interesting part of the car. We don’t have a lot of information at the moment, but we do have some. The TS050 is powered by a 2.4-liter, gasoline-fueled V-6 that’s combined with an 8-megajoule hybrid system. The engine and hybrid system were developed by Motorsport Unit Development Division at the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center.

There’s a motor on the front axle, and another on the rear. Just like before, energy is recovered during braking, but on the TS050, it’s stored in a high-capacity lithium-ion battery as opposed to the super capacitor used previously. As you can guess, the new hybrid system and battery storage means Toyota has jumped up to the 8MJ hybrid racing class. Unfortunately, Toyota has yet to release powertrain output or overall performance numbers, but we’re hoping to get the full scoop soon.

0Competition0

1Audi R181

2016 Audi R18 High Resolution Exterior
- image 670085

The R18 is Audi’s resident racer, and for 2016, it’s jumping up to the 6MJ racing class, which means it sports a new hybrid system, as well as some significant aerodynamic alterations and a TDI powerplant. As far as the drivetrain goes, the car now uses a redesigned motor generator unit, and the flywheel energy storage system was swapped out in favor of a lithium-ion accumulator. How will the Audi R18 compete against Toyota’s new TS050 Hybrid? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see the results this year.

Read our full review on the Audi R18 here.

1Porsche 9191

2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 611839
Porsche has revealed its newest 919 Hybrid racecar. Check out all of its details at TopSpeed.com.

It wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t list the Porsche 919 as a competitor to the TS050. In fact, it may be the strongest competitor, considering it won the World Endurance Championship and the 24 hours of Le Mans in 2015. The 919 uses the same engine, transmission, and chassis from last year, but the engine has been upgraded to produce 500 horsepower. The electric motors offer up 400 ponies, bringing the total output up to 900 horses total. Due to FIA regulations, the 919 must use eight percent less power than last year, but it should still be more than enough to give the TS050 some strong competition.

Read our full review on the Porsche 919 here.

0Conclusion0

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 Exterior
- image 670821

It comes as no surprise that Toyota is bringing some significant updates to its LMP1 racer. It did great in 2014, but with 2015 being less than spectacular, some serious changes were needed to keep Toyota in the game. If it weren’t for the changes brought with the TS050, Toyota probably wouldn’t stand a chance in the WEC this season. Hopefully, the changes it brings to the table are enough, because competitors like Audi are looking to take that top podium spot. Plus, there’s no doubt Porsche is looking to claim its second overall win in a row this year. Needless to say, the competition is going to be stiff, and Toyota will need everything it has, and maybe even a little luck if it wants to come out on top.

  • Leave it
    • * Too much white livery on the side
    • * Stiff competition

Press Release

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing today revealed the all-new TS050 HYBRID, the car which will carry its hopes into a new season of World Endurance Championship (WEC) competition.

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 Exterior
- image 670820

Following a difficult defence of its World Championship titles in 2015, TOYOTA has set itself tough performance targets in order to compete once again at the front of a fiercely-competitive WEC field, featuring fellow LMP1-Hybrid manufacturers Porsche and Audi.

The TS050 HYBRID, TOYOTA’s third new car since joining WEC in 2012, was unveiled publicly for the first time at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France this morning.

It features a significant change in powertrain concept. A 2.4litre, twin-turbo, direct injection V6 petrol engine is combined with an 8MJ hybrid system, both of which are developed by Motor Sport Unit Development Division at Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre.

A new generation turbo engine with direct injection is better suited to the current regulations which limit fuel flow to the engine, and provides opportunity to continue technology and knowledge transfer from the track to road cars.

Like TOYOTA road cars, the front and rear motor-generators recover energy under braking, storing it in a high-powered lithium-ion battery and releasing it as boost for maximum efficiency. The change from super capacitor to battery storage allows the TS050 HYBRID to move up to the more-powerful 8MJ hybrid class.

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 Exterior
- image 670821

The TS040 HYBRID was already used as a rolling test bench and contributed to current road cars. With turbo engines increasingly in use on the road, TOYOTA expects to use the technology and know-how from WEC to make ever-better road cars.

A new powertrain concept brings different cooling and packaging demands, including an updated transmission to handle the significant increase in torque delivered by the turbo engine. Combined with a new aerodynamic concept, that means virtually every part on the TS050 HYBRID chassis has been redesigned by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Germany.

Powertrain components have played their part too in the improved aerodynamic performance of the TS050 HYBRID; by relocating the front motor-generator unit, better under-floor air flow has been achieved which will contribute to overall performance. Suspension kinematics have also been revised to optimise tyre wear.

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 Exterior
- image 670822

The team, which includes several new faces, has already been busy testing the TS050 HYBRID, striving for performance and reliability, covering over 22,000km with positive results. The next test comes at Paul Ricard on 25-26 March, while the nine-race WEC season kicks off at Silverstone on 17 April.

Toshio Sato, Team President: “This is a very exciting season for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, particularly because we have a completely new car with a new powertrain concept. This reflects the current trend in road cars and gives us more opportunities to transfer know-how and technology into TOYOTA’s road car developments. Our WEC activities are motivated by the development of technology and people; we are already seeing the results of our activities in current road cars. But as well as helping TOYOTA to make ever-better cars, we also want to win. Our clear target this year is to compete again at the front, after a very disappointing 2015 season. In Higashi-Fuji and Cologne, there has been a huge effort to prepare for this season; everyone is highly motivated and pushing together to get back onto the centre of the podium.”

Hisatake Murata, General Manager Motor Sport Unit Development Division: “The regulations for this season include a reduction in fuel flow and total fuel energy of approximately 7.5%. As motorsport engineers, we want to always increase the performance of the powertrain so it was important to compensate for this reduction with a more efficient, powerful powertrain. We believe a V6, direct injection, twin turbo engine achieves the best balance of power and efficiency considering the current regulations. Combined with our move into the 8MJ class, this will give us significantly improved torque compared to the previous powertrain; this was a key target for the new car. The new powertrain presents some challenges, particularly in terms of weight and cooling, but the team at Higashi-Fuji and Cologne has worked very hard to address these and I am confident we have met the challenge. We face tough opposition, as last year showed, but we are ready and I cannot wait for Silverstone.”

Pascal Vasselon, Technical Director: “Aside from some principles which have been retained to capitalise on previous years’ development, we have changed every single part. In many areas, like the powertrain and the aerodynamics, the concepts themselves have changed. The aerodynamic concept, and particularly the front face of the car, has changed drastically. We have spent thousands of hours refining this new concept and this time we have done more than incremental changes; we have significantly changed the way we handle the flow structure after the front downforce-generating devices. There has been a significant progress rate in WEC recently so we cannot afford to have any area of the package which is not fully optimised. The TS050 HYBRID has been developed on that basis. We want to be competitive. That is the minimum target we set ourselves – to be back in the game and competitive.”

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 Exterior
- image 670823

Rob Leupen, Team Director: “The team has worked extremely hard on the TS050 HYBRID, which is the result of a close, productive cooperation. Our innovative motorsport technology, as well as the R&D opportunities in Cologne, is contributing to making ever-better cars and the development of road car engineers. At TMG we are delighted to welcome increasing numbers of colleagues from Japan to learn and utilise motorsport as a test bed for new technologies. We are continuously improving team work and this process is very positive; expertise is transferred between Cologne and Higashi-Fuji, and vice-versa, to help reach our targets in WEC. We have responded to a difficult 2015 by reinforcing our team with additional, younger faces throughout, including the driver line-up. The whole team has worked hard during the tests; we still have a long way to go but we expect to be competitive this year.”

2016 World Endurance Championship Calendar

17 April 6 Hours of Silverstone (Gbr)

7 May 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Bel)

18 June 24 Hours of Le Mans (Fra)

24 July 6 Hours of Nürburgring (Deu)

3 September 6 Hours of Mexico (Mex)

17 September 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (USA)

16 October 6 Hours of Fuji (Jpn)

6 November 6 Hours of Shanghai (Chn)

19 November 6 Hours of Bahrain (Bhr)

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