Hy­brid power from Toy­ota put to the test at Le Mans 24-Hour

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - NEWS -

THE long-dis­tance rac­ing se­ries have started and Toy­ota has been show­ing its TSO30 HY­BRID, the first petrol­elec­tric hy­brid car to race in the fastest LMP1 class at the Le Mans 24-Hour race in June.

To­tal power has not been re­vealed but the pro­to­types will have the elec­tric mo­tor in the front and a 3.4 litre petrol en­gine and elec­tric mo­tor at the back, all driv­ing the rear wheels.

The car­bon fi­bre chas­sis has been de­signed by Toy­ota Mo­tor­sport in Cologne – the base for Toy­ota’s TS020 GTOne Le Mans Car in 1998-99. In their last out­ing in 1999 the Toy­otas were blighted by tyre dam­age. Even so, one looked like win­ning un­til a punc­ture meant it had to limp in be­hind the BMW V12 LMR – get­ting that mar­que’s only vic­tory at the race, ahead of diesel dom­i­na­tion by Audi. TS030’S race de­but is the six hour event at Spa-fran­cor­champs on May 5. Its Le Mans de­but is June 16-17.

Yoshiaki Ki­noshita, head of the rac­ing team, said: “Our tar­get this year is to show the per­for­mance level of our car and par­tic­u­larly the hy­brid pow­er­train. Hy­brid is a core tech­nol­ogy of Toy­ota so it is im­por­tant to demon­strate this in a mo­tor­sport arena and we want to prove it can bring a per­for­mance ad­van­tage, both in terms of lap time and fuel ef­fi­ciency.”

Toy­ota has now sold more than 3.5 mil­lion hy­brid ve­hi­cles – claimed to have saved a po­ten­tial 23 mil­lion tons of car­bon diox­ide. Its 400,000th hy­brid sale in Europe took place this week, a UK built Auris des­tined for a Bel­gian IT com­pany. Honda this week reached 800,000 hy­brid sales.

AS­TON Martin’s stun­ning V12 Za­gato has its de­but on Fe­bru­ary 15 at the Kuwait Con­cours d’ El­e­gance. Cost­ing £330,000 plus taxes, a max­i­mum of 150 will be hand­built at the Gay­don HQ. The 6-litre en­gine de­liv­ers 510bhp and sits on a bonded alu­minium plat­form. Two cars in pro­to­type form ran at the Nürburgring 24-hour race last June, tak­ing joint first place.

SET TO RACE: Toy­ota TSO30 HY­BRID, top, is go­ing to be tested at Le Mans. As­ton Martin’s V12 Za­gato, above, will be in on show in Kuwait.

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