Toyota spilled more details on Tuesday of its plan to run a hybrid at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
Last week we reported that the Japanese automaker would be entering such a vehicle, but there were no details on the powertrain or the plan surrounding the car itself. That changed when the company issued a release detailing their plans to run not one, but two of their hybrid contenders in the Le Mans for the first time in more than a decade.
The first of the two cars will make its race debut at the Six Hours of Spa race in May. Perhaps the most interesting information to come from Toyota today are the details behind their hybrid LMP1 entry.
It will sport a 3.4-liter normally-aspirated V8, paired with a capacitor system instead of batteries, which will store energy through the car’s regenerative braking system. Essentially, that means the hybrid will store power while slowing down and use it for a significant acceleration boost while returning to speed.
The car will also benefit from a new carbon fiber LMP1 chassis that was developed and assembled at Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Cologne, Germany.
Toyota will not, however, compete in all the FIA races. Instead, they want to use those they participate in to build up a strong racing platform for the future.
“Of course we would love to win Le Mans; that is the dream for all competitors in this race. But we are realistic and we know we need to develop and to learn in order to compete with some very strong competition. Our target this year is to show the performance level of our car and particularly the THS-R powertrain,” Yoshiaki Kinoshita, racing team president, said.
The decision hasn’t been made about who will man the second car, but we do know that the first car’s team includes 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Alex Wurz, last year’s 12 Hour of Sebring winner Nicolas Lapierre and former F1 driver Kazuki Nakajima.