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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Feb 02 2012, 7:16 PM

The German-based Kodewa team will be campaigning a pair of Lola LMP2 Coupes in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Lola LMP2 race cars are designed and built in Huntingdon UK and will be powered by an engine provided by the Lotus Group.

The Lola B12/80 LMP2 Coupes will sport a traditional black and gold livery, which was first made famous back in the 1970′s. The famous color scheme will be a nice contrast to the classic blue and orange Gulf Oil scheme that will be seen on the other Lola LMP2 cars this season.

“We have had a very successful winter at Lola with eight LMP cars having been ordered. We believe that new entries in sports cars are recognising the technical capabilities and iconic brand of Lola. It is pleasing that Kodewa, sponsored by Lotus, has chosen Lola to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans 24 hours, this year,” said Martin Birrane, Executive Chairman of Lola.

Lola has experienced great success recently taking the 2011 Le Mans Series and American Le Mans Series manufacturers titles. Lola was also the first gasoline-powered LMP car to finish last years Le Mans 24 Hours. We’ll see the new race cars in action at the first race of the 2012 season at the Sebring 12 Hours race on March 17th.

 |  Jan 25 2012, 3:30 PM

You might be familiar with the sound a Le Mans car makes while whipping around the track, but this year Toyota is going to change all that.

For the first time in more than a decade, the Japanese giant is entering in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, set to start this June. Yesterday we reported a story revealing some of the mechanical details behind the TS030 hybrid, Toyota’s strategic play to work back into the Le Mans good books.

The hybrid, they hope, will trump the diesel competition this year. Their car will feature a 3.4-liter naturally-aspirated V8 paired with Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain, which will take advantage of a capacitor system instead of the lithium ion batteries found in production cars.

Until today we had only seen still photos and ready specs, but thanks to a fresh post on YouTube, we get a chance to hear what the car sounds like on the road. You don’t see or hear anything interesting for the first 30 seconds of the video, but it ends with the TS030 Hybrid turning onto the track and launching. As you probably imagine, the difference between the electric motors and the V8 is striking. You can watch the video below.

GALLERY: Toyota TS030 Hybrid

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 |  Jan 24 2012, 6:00 PM

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.

GALLERY: TS030 Hybrid

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