TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has launched the all-new GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar, which will compete in the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The reigning World Champions and three-time Le Mans winners will defend those titles against new manufacturer competitors using a racing version of the upcoming hypercar road car, featuring powertrain technology developed in the TS050 HYBRID and highlighted via new Racing Hybrid branding.
The GR010 HYBRID is a prototype racer developed over the last 18 months in partnership by engineers at the team’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany and the electric hybrid powertrain experts at Higashi-Fuji in Japan.
The GR010 HYBRID features a four-wheel-drive racing hybrid powertrain, with a 3.5-liter V6 twin turbo engine, providing 680PS to the rear wheels, combined with a 272PS motor generator unit, developed by AISIN AW and DENSO, on the front axle.
Total output is capped at 500kW (680PS), meaning the GR010 HYBRID’s electronics reduce engine power according to the amount of hybrid boost deployed.
The new Le Mans Hypercar regulations mean the GR010 HYBRID is a completely new car, designed to a different philosophy. A major difference is the architecture of the hybrid system; we will have one kinetic energy recovery system and brake-by-wire, on the front axle. This means we had to install a starter motor and fully hydraulic rear brakes for the first time in our WEC project. Following the regulations, our car will have one bodywork specification to handle all circuits, so we needed to provide a wider working window for this car. These are just examples; there have been many such differences and challenges to address during development, so it has been an interesting engineering challenge. Now we are all looking forward to continuing our testing programme and finally seeing our new car compete; I think it will be worth the wait.
—Pascal Vasselon, Technical Director
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing enters its ninth season in WEC with the same driver line-up which brought Le Mans and World Championship laurels to the team in the 2019-2020 campaign. Newly-crowned World Champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López will drive the #7 GR010 HYBRID while Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley race with the #8 car. Nyck de Vries continues in his role as test and reserve driver.
They have already started developing the GR010 HYBRID, with two three-day tests already completed as the team adapts to new regulations which are a significant shift in terms of performance and philosophy.
As part of a cost-cutting initiative incorporated in the regulations, the new GR010 HYBRID is 162kg heavier and with 32% less power than its TS050 HYBRID predecessor, with Le Mans lap times expected to be around 10 seconds slower.
It is also larger: 250mm longer, 100mm wider and 100mm higher.
For the first time since the beginning of its WEC project, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will participate without a rear motor generator unit (MGU), with the single permitted MGU located on the front axle. This means a starter motor must be fitted on the GR010 HYBRID while fully hydraulic rear brakes are also required.
The GR010 HYBRID features state-of-the-art aerodynamics, optimized for efficiency, and developed using Computational Fluid Dynamics software and wind tunnel testing. The new technical regulations permit only a single homologated bodywork package, with only one adjustable aerodynamic device. The GR010 HYBRID will therefore compete in the same specification at both low- and high-downforce circuits, with an adjustable rear wing modifying the aerodynamic characteristics.
For the first time, the top class of WEC and Le Mans will feature a balance of performance—i.e., organizers will modify the performance of each car on a race-by-race basis, regulating energy usage and weight, targeting identical performance potential from each Le Mans Hypercar. That should ensure close racing between TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and its hypercar competitors Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and ByKolles Racing, as well as Alpine, which will present an additional challenge with its LMP1 car.
Those battles will be fought over six races on three continents, beginning with the 1000 Miles of Sebring on 19 March prior to the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (1 May) and the season highlight, the Le Mans 24 Hours on 12-13 June. The first World Championship endurance race in Monza since 1992 takes place on 18 July before trips to Fuji Speedway (26 September) and Bahrain (20 November), all of which are six-hour contests.