Friday 31 March 2017

Toyota Gazoo Racing unveils the 2017 TS050 Hybrid at Monza

Toyota Gazoo Racing presented its TS050 Hybrid this morning, ahead of the FIA WEC Prologue in Monza over the weekend. 

Following the dramatic outcome of last years Le Mans race, Toyota now has a clear target to earn its first Le Mans victory. That requires a combined effort at its technical centres in Higashi-Fuji and Cologne, with upgrades in every area of the TS050 HYBRID.

The 2017 car features a 2.4litre V6 turbo-charged petrol engine combined with an 8 MJ hybrid system. A new, further developed engine and an optimised hybrid system now give the car an estimated maximum power of 735 kW/1000 hp. 

New regulations for 2017 target a reduction in aerodynamic efficiency for safety reasons and to increase the Le Mans laptimes. This is achieved by rasing the front splitter by 15 mm and a rear diffuser that's been narrowed down. On the Toyota, the major differences on the body work are a raised nose and sharp undercut to the sidepods. The most noticeable modifications on the body work are a raised nose and sharp undercut to the sidepods. As from this season, only 2 aero configurations are allowed. The one that will be used at Monza is the low downforce configuration for Le Mans. Toyota has also worked closely with Michelin in developing new tyre compounds and constructions for the new season, as tyre usage also has been restricted from now on. 

Earlier this week, the Japenese team confirmed its full driver line-up for the 2017 season, with Yuji Kunimoto and Nicolas Lapierre joining Stéphane Sarrazin in a third car at Francorchamps and Le Mans.  For Lapierre its a return to the team he left in 2015 after scoring its first victories in the FIA WEC. Since then, Lapierre has been one of the leading LMP2 drivers, twice winning the class at Le Mans, the FIA WEC championship and several races in ELMS. Yuji Kumimoto has been racing in the Japenese Super GT championship for eight seasons and won the Super Formula championship last year.  

The crews of the 2 cars which will compete in the full FIA WEC season were already confirmed in February. José Maria Lopez is a new face in the #7 car which he will share with regulars Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi. The driver line-up of the #8 car is unchanged with Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima. 


Toshio Sato, Team President
"The whole team is motivated and determined for this season. We want to win, there is no doubt about that, but we know it will be a tough fight with Porsche. The team in Higashi-Fuji and Cologne has worked incredibly hard to update the TS050 HYBRID and the first indications are encouraging. Having a third car is an additional opportunity and we will do our best to again deliver a great spectacle for the fans at Le Mans. We know from painful experience that Le Mans is a very difficult race to win, but that is our target. Everything - the car, the team and the drivers - has to work perfectly to achieve our goal. We will see in June if we have done enough."

Histake Murata, Racing Hybrid Project Leader
"Although the TS050 HYBRID shares the same name as the 2016 car, its performance has been greatly improved by reviewing the powertrain and enhancing efficiency in all areas. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's biggest goal for this year, as always, is winning Le Mans. The team in Higashi-Fuji has worked ceaselessly since Le Mans last year to develop a powertrain which will deliver performance over one lap and over a full race distance, enabling us to compete at the front. This has resulted in a new engine, plus modifications to the motor generator units and battery. The first results are very encouraging but we will continue to fine-tune so we are ready."

Pascal Vasselon, Technical Director
"Our 2017 TS050 HYBRID represents a significant update; the only item which is not changed is the monocoque. At several races last year we showed the potential of our car with strong performances. But to achieve our targets we need more, so as well as big aerodynamic changes, we have optimised each area for performance and weight. What happened at Le Mans last year was painful so we gave extra attention to quality management. Zero risk doesn't exist so we operate according to a given level of risk, which this year we have reduced. Pre-season testing has gone well in terms of performance and reliability so we feel positive but we also know we face a tough competitor."

Kristof Vermeulen.