Regular Gas2 readers may remember Toyota’s announcement of their hybrid race car prototype – the green(er) car will be running in Le Mans this year, if all goes well, along with some other races. Testing started this week in the south of France.
One aspect of the TS030 prototype that stands out is that it sounds a little peculiar. There’s no engine sound at all as it rolls down the pit lane during testing, and only when it’s out of sight is the roar of its 3.4-liter V8 engine audible. Of course, that’s because the hybrid starts out running on electric only.
Check out the video for the sound (or lack thereof):
The goal is to save some of the massive amounts of fuel used (something like the KERS hybrid system currently in use in Formula1 cars, although whether KERS actually saves fuel or just makes it easier for drivers to pass each other is a subject of many, many hours of intense debate). Since a lot of energy is dissipated during braking, the idea is to harvest that and then give the car a speed boost coming out of the turn (which makes for easier passing, but more passing makes for more exciting racing, and you can see exactly where I stand on this issue).
The use of KERS in Formula1 aside, racing has always been a place to develop innovative technology that’s then applicable to perfectly normal street cars. Greener tech in race cars is, in my opinion, the best possible place designers can go.
Questions? Opinions? Want to tell me exactly how KERS has ruined Formula1 forever? Let us know in the comments, below.