Image credit: Nick Holland / SportsCarGlobal / Toyota Racing.

Stefan Ruitenberg take a look at struggling 2014 Wold Endurance Champions Toyota and ponders why it seems that Toyota haven’t developed the TS040 as much as they could. Their margin in 2014 was so extreme, but now they are firmly on the back foot.

The 2015-specification TS040 has been significantly reworked, according to Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon, who said his updated car is no revolution, but it’s an evolution almost everywhere.

Toyota claim 80% of the new car is new, with much revised areas all over the car. Toyota are running a two-piece monocoque, constructed from Carbon Fibre composite. The engine is mounted in the middle for 50/50 weight destitution.

A normally-aspirated V8, 3.4 Litre petrol engine drives the rear wheels producing 500hp. The extracted electric energy is re-used to provide 250hp of boost to the rear wheels through an electric motor within the gearbox casing. Altogether having a final output of 1000 BHP. What makes the Hybrid different on the Toyota, is that that they run a second MGU on the rear axle too, which brings a further 250BHP, this is what gives the car a good overall top speed and of course is 1000BHP.

Toyota will remain in the 6 Mega Joule’s class in its bid to defend its WEC title with a revised version of last year’s TS040 Hybrid system. Toyota have also updated its version of its super capacitor energy-storage system, which Toyota has retained rather than using Lithium batteries.

Reigning champions Toyota have really struggled this year in the WEC, and have been third best out of the trio. It looks as Toyota haven’t developed the TS040 as much as they could. Their margin in 2014 was so extreme, but now they are on the back foot.

The 2015-specification TS040 has been significantly reworked, according to Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon, who said his updated car is no revolution, but it’s an evolution almost everywhere.

Toyota claim 80% of the new car is new, with much revised areas all over the car. Toyota are running a two-piece monocoque, constructed from Carbon Fibre composite. The engine is mounted in the middle for 50/50 weight destitution.

ToyotaTech01

A normally-aspirated V8, 3.4 Litre petrol engine drives the rear wheels producing 500hp. The extracted electric energy is re-used to provide 250hp of boost to the rear wheels through an electric motor within the gearbox casing. Altogether having a final output of 1000 BHP. What makes the Hybrid different on the Toyota, is that that they run a second MGU on the rear axle too, which brings a further 250BHP, this is what gives the car a good overall top speed and of course is 1000BHP.

Toyota will remain in the 6 Mega Joule’s class in its bid to defend its WEC title with a revised version of last year’s TS040 Hybrid system. Toyota have also updated its version of its super capacitor energy-storage system, which Toyota has retained rather than using Lithium batteries.

What takes the Toyota away from its rivals, as they don’t have any inlets on the nose for air to pass through, but an ultra-flat profile wing blended into the nose cone. This tells use Toyota are aiming to get a high amount of the air flow up and over the car, as well as underneath it. This has its benefits and drawbacks. It could potentially allow the car to have more downforce than its rivals with a better flow to the rear wing and diffuser, but hamper the car in straight line speed.

The small inlets on the nose structure panels feature a wire mesh vent, mainly for cooling brake fluid or part of the electrical internals. Toyota, to help the aero, have covered part of the mesh, so that the air flow over them is less turbulent, and so won’t interfere with the rest of the stream lines over the car, passing to the rear wing mainplane and diffuser. Although this is very small, it could have a big effect on the rear.

ToyotaTech02

They have also kept the low drag nose and footplate at the front of the car. This was used in 2014 also, and made the car very quick in a straight line. The footplate sets up a very small but neat vortex which doesn’t disturb the streamlines over the rest of the car, less interference results in a cleaner less ambient pressure air flow. Due to this, Toyota will benefit more from the rear downforce.

Toyota will use one guide vane below the lights, unlike Audi who have 2. The reason they are situated there is to help the cars balance when braking. Toyota may feel it will create too much turbulent flow that disrupts the flow to the rear, so in order only have one. Depending on the cars characteristics, some teams may feel they don’t need them, and in this case Toyota have voted otherwise. But we could see them feature come the high downforce tracks on the WEC calendar.

Overall the Toyota is a very tidy car, but still seems to be a high downforce setup than Porsche but the same as Audi. Although we will see the Porsche brake the sound barrier, the Toyota and Audi will have the speed through the corners, which could result into a thrilling Le Mans 24.

Between the top LMP1-H the 4 teams, there are some very interesting aerodynamic and mechanical designs this year. But until Le Mans 24, we won’t know who has got it right. Four teams will fight it out on the top category of ICE and ERS racing. Come to the last lap in France, it’s too close to call