The dominating diesels will have a fuel economy foe at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, thanks to a new hybrid race car from Toyota. Set to compete in the top-tier LMP1 class later this year, the first photos of the hybrid electric drive prototype have hit the net, thanks to a tweet by Toyota UK PR boss Scott Brownlee.
No details have yet been provided on the powertrain, but it’s expected the car will utilize a generous hybrid drivetrain that will not only add power but also supplement power through regenerative braking, allowing the car to drive further with fewer pit stops – the strategy that has allowed diesels from Audi and Peugeot to block out all the top podium spots in endurance racing.
Running the racing operation for Toyota will be ORECA Racing, a team that has been racing at Le Mans for 35 years and which has achieved a first place finish in every category it has ever competed in.
Toyota’s three-man team scheduled to pilot the new hybrid racer at this year’s endurance classic includes 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Alex Wurz, last year’s 12 Hour of Sebring winner Nicolas Lapierre and former F1 pilot Kazuki Nakajima.
GALLERY: Toyota Hybrid Le Mans Race Car