Toyota just unveiled its new TS040 hybrid race car, which is going to go head to head with Audi and Porsche during this year’s 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship. The all-wheel-drive TS040 has a 989 horsepower hybrid powertrain, which Toyota hopes will propel the car to the top spot at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 14.
The World Endurance Championship revised its technical regulations for 2014, placing more focus on fuel economy. This year’s race cars have to be 25 percent more fuel-efficient than last year, and automakers have eked out fuel savings through advanced powertrains, improved aerodynamics and driving style efficiencies. The new relegations allowed Toyota to use more hybrid technology in its race car, which features a motor-generator on its front axle in addition to a unit on the rear axle.
How does it work? Under deceleration, the motor-generators apply braking force in combination with traditional mechanical brakes to harvest energy, which is transferred via an inverter to a super-capacitor. During acceleration, the motor/generator reverses its function, acting as a motor to deliver a 474-hp power boost. When combined with a 513-hp 3.7L gas engine, hybrid system generates a total of 989 horsepower.
Toyota is planning to enter two TS040 vehicles in this year’s race. Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima will pilot car number 7, while Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi will drive car number 8.