“With its impressive Le Mans victories, Audi has demonstrated the advantages of modern turbo diesel engines. We intend to do the same with our hybrid units,” Toyota said some time ago. Now it’s time to fulfill that intention.
A curious coincidence: in 1992, the Toyota TS010 sports prototypes fought for victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race with classmates Peugeot 905B Evo 1 Bis LM. Nevertheless, the French won that year, and Toyota, which showed the best result, was sandwiched in the finish protocol in 2nd place between two Peugeot. And the next year, the result was even worse: only 4th place after the trio of 905s that triumphantly took all the prizes.
Now, exactly 20 years later, history is repeating itself in a slightly different variation: the Toyota Racing team and its new, hybrid prototypes of the LMP1 group are returning to Le Mans and, in general, to the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) against the backdrop of departure of the Peugeot team. And this time the French are retreating after just one victory out of a whole series of failures over the past few years of performances. So the Japanese have a chance to take some sort of revenge (if they manage to perform better).
In general, the history of Toyota performances in the endurance racing championship has a good ten years more. The first start was taken back in 1983, and in the famous and significant for any team super marathon “24 Hours of Le Mans”, cars of this brand took part 13 times. Maybe this number was the cause of total bad luck? Indeed, by repeatedly starting from the front row, including from pole position, Toyota racers have earned a reputation as “always second” at the finish line.
Thus, today’s Toyota TS030 Hybrid prototype is a direct successor to the not-too-lucky, but still very fast and competitive TS010 and TS020 (TS stands for Toyota Sport for short). The TS010 was built to the then new Group C1 regulation, which called for the use of naturally aspirated 3.5L V10s. TS020 (aka GT – 1, LM GTP group) was already driven by a 3.6-liter V8, and the famous Gianpaolo Dallara became the chassis developer.