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