Toyota reveals GR010 as Gazoo Racing looks to defend its Le Mans three-peat
Toyota Gazoo Racing has revealed its GR010 Hybrid Le Mans racer set to take on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) beginning in 2021, when it will defend Toyota’s three-year winning streak at the 24 Hours of LeMans.
The new racer is inspired by the GR Super Sport, the road-going hypercar that Toyota showed off late last year. A set of WEC rule changes taking effect in 2021 aims to lower the cost of racing significantly—though it adds some mechanical complexity in the process—and the shift required Toyota to reimagine the race-winning formula that brought it checkered flags at Le Mans in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Under the new regulations, cars running in WEC’s top class (LMDh) are larger and heavier and have a lower cap on power output.
The GR010’s hybrid powertrain pairs a 671-hp, twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 that turns the rear wheels with a 268-hp motor-generator that powers the front axle. The total power output of the powertrain for LMDh entrants is capped at 671 hp, so the Toyota’s output will be adjusted depending on how much work the front-mounted motor inputs. Toyota Gazoo Racing expects that this combo will result in lap times about 10 seconds slower than those of the outgoing TS050 Hybrid. That LMP1 race car used electric motor-generators at both axles to capture braking energy.
The new rule changes also simplify the cars’ bodywork: Only a single adjustable aerodynamic device is allowed. This means that all LMDh entrants will wear the same body whether they’re at a high- or low-downforce circuit, with the only difference being the rear wing.
The new GR010 Hybrid will face competition from Alpine as well as from Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, the boutique American carmaker that’s hoping make a big splash on the endurance racing stage. You can see Gazoo Racing’s latest hybrid in competition starting at the 1,000 miles of Sebring on March 19, 2021.