Akio Toyoda’s desire to make Toyota “fun to drive, again” will reach its high point when a road-going version of the new GR010 Hybrid race car is unveiled.
For now, this entrant in the upcoming 2021 World Endurance Championship — of which the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a part — will have to do.
The race-ready GR010 features a direct-injection 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 with 500kW driving the rear wheels via a seven-speed sequential transmission. This is augmented by an electric motor with 200kW for the front wheels.
Total system output from the all-wheel drive hybrid drivetrain is capped at 500kW.
Developed by the Gazoo Racing team in Cologne, Germany, and Toyota’s hybrid powertrain engineers at Higashi-Fuji, Japan, and the GR010 draws some its design inspiration from the 2018 GR Super Sport Concept (bottom).
On the race track, the GR010 will replace the TS050 Hybrid, which has been racing since 2016.
As part of the FIA’s attempt to reign in price of entry into the top-tier WEC category, the GR010 is 162kg heavier than its predecessor. Power is down about 32 per cent from the TS050’s 735kW, and the electric motor for the rear axle has been eliminated.
On the flipside teams have been given more freedom in how they design their vehicles’ exterior and drivetrain.
According to John Litjens, chassis project leader, under the new Le Mans Hypercar rules “all cars have to be within certain performance windows in terms of downforce and drag, but there is more freedom allowed for the bodywork shapes and concepts”.
Similarly drivetrains have to reside within a “given power curve but [there is] a lot of freedom in terms of configuration”. So, the new car has a more powerful petrol engine to compensate for the missing rear electric motor.
The GR010 measures 4900mm long, 2000mm wide and 1150mm tall. Thanks to regulation changes it is 250mm longer, 100mm wider and 100mm taller than the car it replaces.
It rides on 18-inch RAYS magnesium alloy wheels with Michelin 31/71-18 tyres.
Toyota has yet to indicate when the road-going version of the GR010 will be unveiled or when it will go on sale.
The company has applied for a patent for a flip-forward canopy, so it’s possible such an entry and exit system will be used in place of traditional doors.