The Le Mans Hypercar from the Toyota GAZOO Racing WEC team has been revealed – here is a technical profile of their GR010 Hybrid.
The first and only hybrid-powered LMH expected thus far has been unveiled to race in the ninth edition of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The driver lineups in both their #7 and #8 entries have been retained, with the only latest change being Kenta Yamashita’s parting with their WEC programme.
Alongside the regulars piloting both Toyotas, Nyck De Vries will have a role to play as test/reserve driver in this new era of LMH.
Powertrain and drivetrain
The Toyota GR010 Hybrid uses a 3.5l V6 twin-turbo petrol engine with direct injection.
Its peak output sits at 670 hp, which is assisted by a 200 kW electric motor (MGU) based at only the front axle unlike the TS050 Hybrid which also had an MGU at the rear for a KERS deployment on all-four wheels.
The combined power output is capped at 670 hp on the GR010 Hybrid – 32% less than the TSO50 Hybrid (985 hp) – but all in the spirit of the regulations and a competitive field.
This power is distributed through a transversal seven-speed sequential gearbox, succeeding the TS050’s six speeds (the 2016 variant initially featured seven gears as did the TS040 before it).
John Litjens, Project Leader Chassis at TGR said: “The biggest change for us here was to move to only a front motor generator unit after five years with hybrid on both the front and rear axles.
“The packaging for the hybrid system was more challenging on this car because of updated safety standards.
“Additionally, the combustion engine is a more powerful on the GR010 Hybrid compared to the TS050 Hybrid. So it is a very different car both in appearance and in how it sounds.”
The composition of the hybrid system has differed somewhat to predecessors with only one KERS implementation and a brake-by-wire system both implemented on the front axle.
This has led to installing a starter motor and fully-hydraulic rear brakes for the first time.
All previous Toyota LMP1 Hybrids were able to pull away from a standstill on the instant torque of electric power, which dramatically reduced the time spent in the pitlane without needing to utilise the biting-point of the throttle and clutch.
The regulations, which have a five-year homologation window, will now implement a Balance of Performance (BoP) system.
It looks to establish closer racing despite the variety in powertrains, from Toyota’s petrol-hybrid to Glickenhaus’ and ByKolles’ turbo petrol engines, and even Alpine’s Gibson n/a V8 in their grandfathered ex-Rebellion R13.
The BoP is a new phenomenon entering the WEC that “puts the emphasis on fast drivers, perfect operations and optimal strategy,” as Team Director Rob Leupen describes from his experience in other championships.
Aerodynamics and dimensions
When developing the LMH, Toyota emphasised how the GR010 Hybrid’s aerodynamics have been optimised for efficiency through extensive wind-tunnel testing and the use of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software.
As part of the cost-cutting measures with these new regulations, only one permissible device on the car can be adjustable.
In this case, the GR010 Hybrid will race with the same specification at both low and high downforce circuits (all tracks) with only an adjustable rear wing to modify aerodynamics.
Its predecessor differed with adjustable downforce at the front and rear as well as a special Le Mans low downforce kit that could be tailored for the main 24-hour event.
Relative to the cost-cutting element of the regulations, the GR010 Hybrid is heavier and theoretically slower than the TS050 Hybrid.
The car has an extra 162 kg of weight, and the 32% power reduction.
In December 2018, when the Le Mans Hypercar programmes and initiatives got underway the target Le Mans lap-time was around 3m25s, 10 seconds slower than the outgoing 3m15s times that the TS050 Hybrid could do.
This 10 second deficit is still the minimum target for LMH at Le Mans.
Their new LMH also has bigger dimensions too at 250 mm longer, 100 mm wider and 100 mm taller, but will continue to use Michelin-supplied tyres on RAYS magnesium alloy rims (13 x 18 inch).
|GR010 Hybrid Dimensions|
|Fuel Capacity||90 Litres|
The design and appearance
However, it is worth mentioning that the Le Mans Hypercar’s dimensions are primarily based on its GR Super Sport road-car that is currently into its development process.
It is also part of a radical turn for the leading Le Mans prototypes than hark back to the GT1 cars with the lower, stanced appearance.
The GR010 Hybrid still features familiar characteristics with LMP-style carbon fibre bodywork with a shark-fin that was mandated on LMP1s back in the 2014 WEC season.
The combined red, white and black livery colours are nothing of a surprise, as Toyota’s ‘GAZOO Racing’ motorsport division has been unifying its global image – the rename and rebadge from Toyota Racing was made in 2016.
Since then, Toyota GAZOO Racing feature in the WEC, WRC, Dakar and other assorted rally raid events with TGR South Africa, various sub-regional touring car championships like TC2000 in Argentina or the BTCC in the UK, Super and British GT, and others.
It is no mistake that these colours represent Toyota’s Japanese pride and how they can aspire and succeed in motorsport as one of the Japan’s global automotive manufacturers.
The GR010 Hybrid will be a platform on which to develop the LMH over the next decade or so.