Toyota Video WEC

VIDEO: Toyota’s 30 years of Le Mans

Toyota's 30 years of Le Mans

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Toyota’s first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Back in 1985 its hopes were pinned on the 85C-L, the two-car effort managing a respectable 12th place for the #36 car, while the #38 entry did not finish.

Today, Toyota will fight for the ultimate Le Mans success with the TS040. Again the team will have two cars, carrying the numbers #1 and #2. And with four second place finishes at the Circuit de la Sarthe (1992, 1994, 1999 and 2013) you could say Toyota is due for a win on Sunday afternoon.

You can relive Toyota’s Le Mans history with a very slick short film after the break.

Toyota WEC

The ultimate endurance race

Toyota TS030 Hybrid

Toyota reflects on its second place at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans in this six minute short film. The #8 TS030 Hybrid driven by Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin finished one lap behind the winning Audi crew and you sense that small taste of success has only enhanced Toyota’s thirst for victory.

Motorsports Toyota

Toyota TS030 Hybrid LMP1 racecar revealed

Toyota TS030 Hybrid LMP1

After last week’s brief twitter preview, Toyota Motorsport has officially revealed its new LMP1 racer, which is heading for Le Mans later this year. It’s called the Toyota TS030 Hybrid and it runs a conventional 3.4 litre V8 petrol engine. Final spec for the hybrid components will be finalised after more testing has taken place, but the plan at this stage is to run two electric motors, one at each axle.

The TS030 has already completed a few hundred kilometres of testing at Paul Ricard, as these photos suggest. For now Toyota has only committed the TS030 to racing in the Six hours of Spa (5 May) and Le Mans 24 hour race (16–17 June). Participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship has not been confirmed, but is clearly on the team’s radar.

Toyota will run two cars at Spa and Le Mans, but only three drivers have been announced to date. Former F1 driver Alexander Wurz will be joined by Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima.

While they would clearly like to win Le Mans, Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President, has set achieveable goals: “Of course we would love to win Le Mans; that is the dream for all competitors in this race. But we are realistic and we know we need to develop and to learn in order to compete with some very strong competition. Our target this year is to show the performance level of our car and particularly the THS-R powertrain. Hybrid is a core technology of Toyota so it is important to demonstrate this in a motorsport arena and we want to prove it can bring a performance advantage, both in terms of lap time and fuel efficiency.”

Speaking after his first drive of the TS030 Alexander Wurz said: “It was cool to drive the TS030 HYBRID car for the first time. Just leaving the garage on the electric power is very futuristic, then when you let the clutch go and the internal combustion engine kicks in it is like an old friend has returned! When we put on the slick tyre I could feel the car generates a very good amount of grip so I think we have a good base and I think we can turn this into a really fast car.”