The world of endurance had taken something of a beating these last few years. With major manufactures such as Audi, Peugeot and Porsche exiting it the fold, it was easy pickings for the remain works outfit Toyota. The governing body for endurance racing realised that the sport needed a shake-up and introduced the Hypercar rule set. The Toyota GR010 Hypercar is the very first of these next-gen endurance racers to break cover. This racecar is not to be confused with the company’s upcoming GR Super Sport road car that is still in development.
Toyota are the reigning World Champions of the World Endurance Championship and three-time Le Mans winners. The Japanese outfit will be looking to defend their titles with the Toyota GR010 Hypercar. This latest racer has been in development since the new rules were finalised over 18 months ago. Other teams that will be racing in the new category from this year include Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and ByKolles Racing, as well as Alpine, which will still use an LMP1 car.
The Toyota GR010 Hypercar is powered by a 3,5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that sends 500 kW (as stipulated in the rules) to the rear axle. In addition there is a 200 kW motor generator unit that powers the front wheels. Total system output is capped at 500 kW, which means the GR010 electronics reduce engine power according to the amount of hybrid boost deployed. You see and hear the car in action at the bottom of this post.
To keep development costs down the new cars are somewhat less complex and exotic than the outgoing LMP1 racers. The Toyota GR010 Hypercar is 162kg heavier and has 32 per cent less power than its TS050 predecessor. Lap times at the Le Mans circuit are expected to be around 10 seconds per lap slower. It also has increased dimensions: it is 250 mm longer, 100 mm wider and 100 mm higher.
The driving squad that has tasted so much success over the nine seasons of WEC competition has remained unchanged in the new Hypercar era of endurance racing. Newly-crowned World Champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López will drive the #7 GR010. Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley will race car #8. Nyck de Vries continues as test and reserve driver.
Racing begins with the 1 000 Miles of Sebring on 19 March. Round two is the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (1 May) and the season highlight, the Le Mans 24 Hours on 12-13 June. The first World Championship endurance race in Monza since 1992 takes place on 18 July before Fuji Speedway (26 September) and Bahrain (20 November), all of which are six-hour contests.
|GR010 Hybrid Technical Specifications|
|Bodywork||Carbon fibre composite|
|Gearbox||Transversal with 7 gears sequential|
|Driveshafts||Constant velocity tripod plunge-joint driveshafts|
|Differential||Mechanical locking differential|
|Suspension||Independent front and rear double wishbone, pushrod-system|
|Anti roll bars||Front and rear|
|Brakes||Akebono mono-block alloy callipers with carbon ventilated discs|
|Rims||Rays magnesium alloy, 13 x 18 inch|
|Tyres||Michelin radial (31/71-18)|
|Length||4 900 mm|
|Width||2 000 mm|
|Height||1 150 mm|
|Weight||1 040 kg|
|Fuel capacity||90 litres|
|Engine||V6 direct injection twin-turbo|
|Valves||4 per cylinder|
|Engine capacity||3,5 litre|
|Engine power||500 kW|
|Hybrid power||200 kW|
|Battery||High-powered Toyota lithium-ion battery|
|Front motor/Inverter||Aisin AW/Denso|