With just four days to go until Toyota Gazoo Racing reveals its new race car for the 2021 World Endurance Championship, the teaser campaign has begun in earnest. The title-winning team has released videos showing brief glimpses of the vehicle that will mount its defence this year.
Not much can be gleaned from the 14-second video above, which shows that the car will look like a typical sports prototype. It comes with large intakes and vents, sizeable pods for the wheels, a small cockpit, a shark fin and a huge rear wing. The livery also sports a new Racing Hybrid logo, referencing the petrol-electric powertrain on board.
We also get a first listen of the engine, which has a flat, almost Formula 1-like timbre, suggesting a turbocharged V6 of some kind powering the car. The as-yet-unnamed racer is of particular interest this year because the FIA is introducing a new category for top-flight endurance racing to replace the long-serving LMP1 class, called the Le Mans Hypercar (LMH).
The new regulations should make enthusiasts sit up and pay attention because they call for a run of at least 25 road-going versions within two years. Toyota has already revealed a prototype of its production model, the GR Super Sport – the car made its debut ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and went on a demonstration run in camouflaged form at the Circuit de la Sarthe ahead of last year’s event.
Some differences can be seen between the Super Sport and the actual race car, such as the latter’s larger vertical headlights (the road car has squinty hexagonal units) and more prominent fin and swan-neck wing setup. There will also likely be changes to the powertrain, with LMH cars being limited to a combined output of 680 hp, a maximum of 270 hp of which can be derived from the hybrid system.
By comparison, the Super Sport is expected to derive its power from a version of the outgoing TS050 Hybrid’s engine, a 2.4 litre twin-turbocharged V6. Together with the electric power from the Toyota Hybrid System-Racing (THS-R), the total system output is expected to reach 1,000 hp.
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