Toyota is the last car manufacturer standing in the World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class, where they’ll get not one, but two shots to win Le Mans. WEC is calling 2018-2019 their “superseason” as they transition to a calendar that ends at Le Mans. Here’s the TS050 Hybrid they hope to do that with, unveiled today in a roundup of Toyota’s motorsport activities for the year.
Toyota committed two of these TS050 Hybrid race cars to doing the full eight-season superseason in a slightly tweaked LMP1 class that now pits them directly against a host of non-hybrid-powered privateers, who hopefully stick around better than privateer LMP1s have in the past.
Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso will be replacing longtime Toyota LMP1 driver Anthony Davidson for most of the races in Toyota’s driver lineup for the weird long season.
Toyota came too close to pulling off a Le Mans win in 2016 but were foiled by a faulty connector in the final moments of the race. Fortunately, Toyota says its hybrid system upgrades were focused on reliability after all of the LMP1s had problems in 2017:
The THS-R (TOYOTA Hybrid System-Racing) powertrain, developed at TOYOTA Higashifuji Technical Center in Japan, not only follows the existing four-wheel regenerative/drive system, but also improves the reliability of the engine, electric motors/generators and batteries. These technologies will be leveraged to the mass-production hybrid and electric vehicles.
Look, I’m not one to give teams a pep talk, but Toyota, listen to me. You’ve got two shots to make one thing happen: an overall Le Mans win. Porsche isn’t around anymore, and I see you didn’t bother to change up the white, black and red-orange color scheme that was easily confused with Porsche’s white, black and red. The car is “largely unchanged” from the 2017-spec TS050, according to Motorsport.com. Cool. I hope it works.
If y’all don’t pull it off as the only manufacturer team left, I don’t even think I’ll be mad. Just disappointed. And you know exactly how much worse “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” is.