[credit provider=”YouTube” url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiPlvBPQeYE”]
Over the last few years, regulations at the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans have tilted in favour of diesel technology on the track.The increased fuel mileage led to fewer pit stops, and the Audi and Peugeot factory teams have used a diesel to win every race since 2006. Unfortunately, Peugeot just announced their withdrawal from sports car racing earlier this month, even after last year’s incredible race where Audi beat them by a mere 14 seconds.
Thankfully, another manufacturer is stepping up to the plate.
Toyota has just unveiled their new Audi R18 fighter, the TS030 Hybrid LMP1, according to Car Magazine. Taking a cue from many of their most successful road cars, the TS030 is using a gas/electric hybrid system to increase fuel mileage during the race.
But unlike the Prius, this is one Toyota hybrid that is far from vanilla. Instead of being mated to a tiny engine, the TS030 Hybrid has a 3.4 liter V8, the maximum size allowed by Le Mans rules.
It will be tough to beat Audi at the famous race, and it is still unclear if the gas/electric system will provide the same mileage as a full diesel. Their confirmed drivers, former F1 stars Alex Wurz and Kaz Nakajima, along with Nicolas Lapierre, will not be lacking for pace; this car will be the deciding factor.
Looks like we’ll find out if the new Toyota will be up to the challenge over the coming months as it will make its race debut at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May.
Check out an on-board video at Paul-Ricard with Alex Wurz below (via YouTube):