The departure of Le Mans’ favorite Peugeot in 2012 has driven many motor sports fans into tears and I’m among them who feel sad as well. But this year we will see another Le Mans icon returning to this endurance sports car racing. Toyota, who has entered Le Mans in 1999 and 2000, returned into the 2012 season in the premier LMP1 category and confirmed participation in full season on the all new FIA World Endurance Championship series; and the legendary Le Mans 24 hours is among them.
Toyota has revealed their new petrol hybrid challenger, code named the TS030 to challenge the dominion diesels from Audi, who has won last year Le Mans 24 hours. The car will be powered by a 3.4-litre normally aspirated V8 petrol engine with hybrid system with capacitor storage. The logic of having a hybrid in an endurance machine make sense, as hybrid powertrains allow us to recover energy under braking and release this to improve acceleration out of a corner. Like any conventional hybrid which Toyota excels with the Prius, hybrid powertrain will achieve this with less fuel, means lesser pit stops in which it can challenge the superior frugal diesels from Audi.
The first TS030 completed a three-day shakedown at the Paul Ricard circuit between January 11 and 13 with drivers Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima announced. Toyota will run two cars, with the second team to be announced in the coming future.
Here’s the video showing Alex Wurz testing the new TS030. For that, we can’t wait for June 2012 to see how this car fares in the Le Mans 2012.