The revamped Porsche 919 Hybrid rolled out of hibernation this week, and not far behind is Toyota’s own Le Mans competitor, the TS040 Hybrid. Like the Porsche 919 Hybrid and Audi R18 e-tron quattro, the Toyota TS040 Hybrid received a makeover to 80% of its components as the Japanese automaker tries to repeat its 2014 World Endurance Championship victory.
Toyota has opted to leave some of the WEC-winning TS040 in place, and unlike Porsche and Audi, the TS040 will stay in the six megajoule class for its hybrid electric drivetrain. But significant improvements were made to the suspension, chassis, and crash structure to comply with new regulations and keep the TS040 competitive with the rest of the racing field. Toyota says the 2015 version of the TS040 should put out more than 1,000 combined horsepower with the 3.7 liter V8 and electric motors working in tamden. Toyota is also said to be testing some components for the 2016 Prius in the TS040, and I wish I knew what.
Toyota Racing has also developed two different aerodynamic body kits for the TS040, a reduced-drag one for high-speed tracks like the Circuit de la Sarthe and another with more downforce for the twisties. Engineers even found room to cut some weight compared to the 2014 iteration, which will work towards ensuring the TS040 remains at the front of the field. Having won 5 of 8 WEC races last year (though notably not the 24 Hours of Le Mans).
Can the Toyota TS040 repeat 2014s success, and add a victory at Le Mans as the cherry on top? It won’t be easy, but for us spectators, it will be fun.