Toy­ota plots raid on Le Mans

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By PAUL GOVER

A SU­PER Prius will race at Le Mans in June. The new hy­brid hero is not tech­ni­cally part of the Prius fam­ily, but Toy­ota is us­ing its TS 030 and a 320km/h lab­o­ra­tory-on-wheels as a way to break down bar­ri­ers against fu­ture cars.

Toy­ota is not plan­ning to win in France this year but does in­tend to lay the foun­da­tions for fu­ture suc­cess with a two-car coupe en­try in full fac­tory colours.

But it will not be the only hy­brid con­tender in June, as Audi has con­firmed plans to race a pair of diese­l­elec­tric ver­sions of its lat­est R18 in a four-car ef­fort.

It is be­lieved to use a fly­wheel, sim­i­lar to the Wil­liams F1 sys­tem al­ready used by Porsche in a rac­ing 911, for en­ergy stor­age.

The new Toy­ota 030 is also a full hy­brid that com- bines a 3.4-litre V8 rac­ing en­gine with an en­ergy stor­age sys­tem to boost power to elec­tric mo­tors at the wheels.

The big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween the road and race cars is the stor­age sys­tem— a Prius uses a bat­tery pack and the Toy­ota racer uses a hi-tech ca­pac­i­tor that has greater stor­age po­ten­tial.

‘‘The first year is a test­ing year, but at the same time, the whole team, in­clud­ing my­self, has mas­sive mo­ti­va­tion,’’ says Kazuki Naka­jima, a for­mer Wil­liams F1 driver who heads the driver line-up for Le Mans.

The 030 hy­brid has al­ready been tested ex­ten­sively but Toy­ota says it is still as­sess­ing the po­ten­tial drive sys­tem.

The Toy­ota 030 hy­brid races for the first time at Spa in Bel­gium in May and, apart from Naka­jima, the six-driver line-up in­cludes for­mer F1 racer Alex Wurz.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.