Call the GR010 Hybrid! Toyota unveiled this Wednesday the very first images of its Hypercar, in a camouflage outfit, two days before its official presentation with its livery for the 2021 season of WEC. The pictures presented are those of the very first driving of the new LMH, which took place on the Paul Ricard circuit last October.
The family resemblance with the TS050 Hybrid is undeniable, but it is nevertheless a whole new era which opens within the framework of the new regulations succeeding the LMP1. “With the exception of generic parts like buttons, sensors and that sort of thing, there are hardly any similar elements between the two cars, because the philosophy of the regulations is very different.”, specifies Pascal Vasselon, technical director of Toyota Gazoo Racing. “It’s a completely new car.”
The Frenchman explains that “the major difference is the architecture of the hybrid system”. Indeed, the Le Mans Hypercar regulations allow the use of a single hybrid system, placed at the level of the front axle, while the TS050 LMP1 used two.
“We had implemented [en LMP1] a device with two kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS), one at the front and one at the rear, with a brake-by-wire braking system at the front and at the rear “, recalls Pascal Vasselon. “This is no longer allowed. The hybrid system option in the regulations imposes only one KERS and one brake-by-wire, both at the front. This creates many differences and challenges to overcome. For example. , we no longer have MGUs in the rear, so we now need a starter choke while the rear brake system is now fully hydraulic, like on a traditional car. “
In terms of engine, Toyota keeps the secret until the end, and it is only Friday that the Japanese manufacturer will say more about its powertrain installed on the GR010 Hybrid. The regulations limit the power to 670 hp (500 kW), including the energy of the hybrid system. With a minimum weight also revised upwards, from 878 kg to 1030 kg, performance will be significantly reduced compared to the LMP1 era.
“There is clearly an impact on the lap times, simply because the goal [de la nouvelle réglementation] was to make performance more affordable and less expensive “, confirms Pascal Vasselon. “We can anticipate a ten second increase in the lap time at Le Mans, and it should be in the order of four to five seconds on a classic 5 km WEC circuit.”
Toyota is organizing a third private test session this week, at the Aragón circuit in Spain, with a run that started yesterday and will end on Thursday.