SHOCK! 735kW LMP1-in­spired road car breaks cover

Motor (Australia) - - FRONT END. NEWS - – SN

WEL­COME TO THE hy­per­car club… Toy­ota? Not con­tent for the likes of As­ton Martin, McLaren and MercedesAMG to have all the credit, the Ja­panese gi­ant has an­nounced it’ll pro­duce a 1000hp weapon of its own, based on its TS050 Le Mans racer. First un­veiled as a con­cept at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Sa­lon, the Toy­ota GR (Ga­zoo Rac­ing) Super Sport was con­firmed for pro­duc­tion at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour. De­vel­op­ment has al­ready be­gun, with the con­cept hav­ing com­pleted track test­ing at the (Toy­otaowned) Fuji Speed­way in Ja­pan. Con­crete de­tails are still few, but Toy­ota’s de­ci­sion to base the Super Sport on the TS050 gives us plenty of clues as to its me­chan­i­cal makeup. What is con­firmed is that the GR Super Sport will use the same hy­brid pow­er­train as the TS050. Should the pow­er­train be car­ried over un­al­tered, the GR SS will dif­fer from its com­peti­tors by only pro­duc­ing half of its 735kW from its in­ter­nal-com­bus­tion en­gine. The 368kW 2.4-litre V6 uses di­rect in­jec­tion and is boosted by two tur­bocharg­ers with in­ter­cool­ing housed in the side­pods. It’s con­nected in the race­car to a six-speed se­quen­tial gear­box and drives the rear wheels through a me­chan­i­cal lim­ited-slip diff. The re­main­ing 367kW are sup­plied by lithium-ion bat­ter­ies, Toy­ota switch­ing from its pre­vi­ous su­per­ca­pac­i­tor en­ergy stor­age to the more tra­di­tional method for the TS050. The bat­ter­ies sup­ply power to a pair of elec­tric mo­tors, one on each axle, which pro­vides all-wheel drive ca­pa­bil­ity. Thanks to an all-car­bon tub with car­bon body pan­els, weight is just 875kg and as a re­sult per­for­mance is mind blow­ing. Toy­ota doesn’t pro­vide any per­for­mance data for the TS050, but Porsche did for its 919 Hy­brid, claim­ing it could hit 100km/h in less than two sec­onds and 200km/h in just 4.5sec. Given the two cars’ sim­i­lar­ity in per­for­mance it seems rea­son­able to as­sume the Toy­ota isn’t any slower. Dou­ble-wish­bone sus­pen­sion fea­tures at each cor­ner with pushrod-ac­ti­vated dampers, tor­sion bar springs and anti-roll bars at both ends. In­ter­est­ingly, the steer­ing re­mains hy­drauli­cally as­sisted, while the brakes are 380mm car­bon discs with six-pis­ton calipers front and rear. It must be said that the race­car’s specs aren’t guar­an­teed to carry over to the road car. How­ever, in or­der to max­imise the link be­tween the two, it seems log­i­cal that Toy­ota will aim to use as much of the TS050’s race-proven engi­neer­ing as pos­si­ble. The good news is while vir­tu­ally ev­ery com­po­nent of the TS050 is con­strained by Le Mans LMP1 tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tions, road cars have no such rule­book. It’s very pos­si­ble the road car could be even wilder and sud­denly a whole raft of pos­si­bil­i­ties is opened up to the Ga­zoo Rac­ing team. No longer are there rules gov­ern­ing the en­gine’s fuel-flow limit, the power and du­ra­tion of its elec­tric as­sis­tance, the size of its wings, the weight of its wheels, and the size of its brakes. All­wheel steer­ing, adap­tive sus­pen­sion, elec­tronic driver as­sis­tance sys­tems and more are all on the table. Ex­pect the GR Super Sport to ap­pear around 2020-’21, at which point the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship will in­tro­duce its new GTP reg­u­la­tions, in­tended to tempt the new breed of track-based hy­per­cars into com­pe­ti­tion. If the World Mo­tor Sport Coun­cil suc­ceeds in its aim of lim­it­ing man­u­fac­turer bud­gets to a quar­ter of cur­rent lev­els, it could set up a new golden era for Le Mans, with the likes of the McLaren Senna, As­ton Martin Valkyrie, Mercedes-AMG Project One and Toy­ota GR Super Sport bat­tling it out on road and track.

BE­LOW Toy­ota isn’t the first to de­velop a Le Mans car for the road. In the early ‘90s, Aussie Vern Schup­pan – who won Le Mans in 1983 – built six Porsche 962based road cars for the Ja­panese mar­ket, The Schup­pan 962CR cost USD$1.5m in 1994

It’s un­cer­tain how much of the ex­tra­or­di­nary hy­brid tech­nol­ogy that took the Ga­zoo Rac­ing to Le Mans glory this year will make it to the road car. The race­car makes 735kW! ABOVE

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