Toyota GAZOO Racing (TGR) will enter its ninth season in World Endurance Championship (WEC) with a brand new racing car – the GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar. The reigning World Champions and 3-time Le Mans winners will defend those titles in the 2021 championship against new manufacturer competitors using a racing version of the upcoming hypercar road car.
The GR010 HYBRID is a prototype racer developed over the last 18 months in partnership by engineers at TGR’s headquarters in Germany, and the electric hybrid powertrain experts at Higashi-Fuji in Japan. It confirmed to regulations that herald a new era in WEC competition.
The GR010 HYBRID incorporates a 4-wheel drive racing hybrid powertrain, with a 3.5-litre V6 twin turbocharged petrol engine. The electrified powertrain generates 680 ps to the rear wheels, together with a 272 ps motor generator unit on the front axle. Total output is capped at 500 kW (680 ps), meaning the sophisticated electronics reduce engine power according to the amount of hybrid boost deployed.
The appearance of the racing prototype has been inspired by the GR Super Sport hypercar which made its public debut during a demonstration run and ceremonial trophy return at the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours and is currently in development. To mark this new era for TGR, a new livery includes the iconic GR lettering to indicate the strong link between race and road cars.
As part of a cost-cutting initiative incorporated in the regulations, the new GR010 HYBRID is 162 kgs heavier and with 32% less power than its TS050 HYBRID predecessor. It also has bigger dimensions – 250 mm longer, 100 mm wider and 100 mm higher. The implication of this is that Le Mans lap times are expected to be around 10 seconds slower.
For the first time since the beginning of its WEC project, TGR 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 racing car’s aerodynamics, optimized for efficiency, have been developed using powerful Computational Fluid Dynamics software and extensive 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 too, the top class of WEC and Le Mans will feature a balance of performance, meaning organisers 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 TGR and its hypercar competitors Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and ByKolles Racing, as well as Alpine, which will present an additional challenge with its LMP1 car.
The championship will be fought over 6 races on three continents, beginning with the 1000 Miles of Sebring on March 19, followed by the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 1. The traditional season highlight – the Le Mans 24 Hours – will take place on 12-13 June. The first World Championship endurance race in Monza since 1992 takes place on July 18 before trips to Fuji Speedway (September 26) and Bahrain (November 20), all of which are 6-hour races.