Toyota reveals 3.5 V6 GR010 Hybrid Hypercar

New twin-turbo V6-powered machine will spawn a road version later this year

By Sam Sheehan / Friday, January 15, 2021 / Loading comments

Reigning LMP1 title winner Toyota Gazoo Racing is the first to launch a Hypercar for the new World Endurance Championship era, providing first glimpse of the technical solutions that’ll be deployed in bigger-engined but technically simpler top category racers. New regs mean the Toyota GR’s drivers won’t be armed with push-to-pass or anti-dive tech, but they’ll be freed to drive the twin-turbo V6-powered GR010 Hybrid flat out on every lap because LMP1 challenges like fuel saving are expected to have died with the old category.

That means we’re potentially going to be faced with purer, less technically complex racing, from cars that are louder – the result of this year’s much larger motors – and less reliant on aerodynamic performance to achieve maximum performance. The car’s powertrain will produce 680hp from the V6 and 272hp from the front-mounted hybrid system, a decent drop on the combined 1,000hp TS050. Toyota concurs that early testing has shown its GR010 to be slower than the TS050 LMP1 car it used until last year, obviously, but driving workload might actually go up for those behind the wheel. So it’s not necessarily a bad thing

The new aerodynamic regs are set to be a big influence on the Hypercar era, as demonstrated by the GR010 and its largely fixed aerodynamic profile. The body – which is 250mm longer, 100mm wider and 100mm higher – features only an adjustable rear wing, meaning teams can’t bring low and high downforce packages to different tracks to gain an advantage. The onus for additional speed will be down to the driver, as it should be.

Another key change is the car’s weight, 1,040kg makes it 162kg heavier than the old LMP1 category cars. With the larger footprint, the GR010 will be more reliant on mechanical grip to generate its performance, so it’ll be interesting to see if the added weight brings more tyre wear issues into the equation. Brit LMP1 reigning champ Conway said he expects driving styles to change as a result, but that there’d be “no issue” in stepping up to the challenge for him or his teammates. His colleague, Le Mans-winning Kiwi Brendon Hartley, said “it’s just as much fun to drive as the TS050”. Racing drivers, eh?

Toyota’s digital conference reveal of the GR010 comes in the same week that the GR team completed its third test at Spain’s Aragon circuit, with WEC stars (and ex-F1 racers) Kamui Kobayashi and Kazuki Nakajima getting their first taste of the new Hypercar machinery. GR team president, Hisatake Murata, said after the test that technology being developed on the track “will directly benefit” Toyota’s road car customers. That's obviously a less than subtle nod at additional electrification across the board – but also addresses the road version of the GR010 racer which is also due to make its debut in the not too distant future.

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