Toyota Gazoo Racing has shown their brand new Hypercar, that will participate in the FIA World Endurance Championship 2021.
The car will be named GR010 Hybrid, and will build on the knowledge from the TS040 and TS050 models.
At first glance, the car looks very similar to its predecessors, but there are quite significant changes, if you put the TS050 and GR010 next to each other.
The car is 250mm longer, plus 100mm wider and taller. It’s 162kg heavier, and then it’s limited to a maximum of 500 kW / 680 HP.
Those changes are all due to the new regulations, that was meant to introduce Hypercars to the category, including the Aston Martin Valkyrie. That car was the base of most of the dimensions, since that was the most extreme car, that was presented at that time. Aston Martin has however pulled the plug on that programme, long before a race car was ever built, but the regulations were already locked on those dimensions.
Toyota has said, that they expect laptimes at Le Mans to be about 10 seconds slower per lap. That is however not likely to happen, due to several reasons.
If the laptimes slows by 10 seconds, the cars will get way too close to LMP2 pace – even with them also getting a power reduction from 2021 onwards. The old TS050 Hybrid had about 368 kW on both the hybrid part and the internal combustion engine (ICE).
The new regulations specify a maximum of 200 kW hybrid power, that can be activated above 120 kph, and only by then, the four-wheel-driver will kick in. But on the other hand, the ICE is now 500 kW compared to the previously 368 kW, and it’s allowed to give full power, until the hybrid part activates. At that point, the ICE power output will drop 200 kW, and once the energy from the battery starts to run out, the ICE can be turned up to maximum power again. That will more or less give the car 500 kW all the time, and won’t “run out of power” at the end of the straights, like the old model did, while the LMP2 actually reached higher top speeds, due to their 600 HK engines just kept pulling all the way down the straights.
Toyota has actually built a bigger gasoline engine for the job, that can deliver more power. While the TS040 had a 3,7 litres natural aspirated engine, a 2,4 litres twin-turbo engine was installed in the TS050. The new GR010 will have a 3,5 litres V6 twin-turbo.
ACO will once again have a tough task, in creating a BOP between the hybrid cars in Hypercar (Peugeot will bring their car in 2022), Hypercars without the hybrid part (currently Glickenhaus and ByKolles), and Alpine, who will bring the old Rebellion R13 LMP1 car, that will be limited on the horsepower, compared to last year. That puzzle will only be even more complicated in 2023, when the LMDh cars from the USA arrive. They will run a hybrid system on the rear axle, plus the many different engine types, that are expected.
Toyota Gazoo Racing also made their driver announcements for the 2021 season. World Champions Jose Maria Lopez, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi will continue in car #7, while #8 once again will be raced by Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima. Nyck de Vries will continue the work as a test- and reserve driver.
The FIA WEC 2021 season is scheduled to start with the 1000 Miles of Sebring race in the middle of March.