Audi and Toyota keen to see hybrid Le Mans cars available for customers

The two manufacturers planning to race hybrid systems at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi and Toyota, want to see the technology become more widely available to customer teams in the future

Audi and Toyota keen to see hybrid Le Mans cars available for customers

Audi has chosen to use a flywheel-based system while Toyota's new TS030 harnesses energy derived from super-capacitors, both of which allow these teams access to 500kj of energy between braking phases - when the energy is stored.

But the technology remains in its infancy in endurance racing and, according to Toyota's team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita, it remains prohibitively expensive for non-manufacturer teams at this stage.

"It is one of our aims [to provide hybrid to customers]," he said, when asked by AUTOSPORT. "But the current situation is that this system is not so cheap, so it may take another three or four years until we can provide our system to the customers, but for sure we want to."

Audi's motorsport chief Dr Wolfgang Ullrich added that the working group put together to define the 2014 regulations had taken into account customer teams when structuring the new framework for efficiency-related technologies.

"The group that has been working together to develop this rulebook had for sure in mind this issue," he said. "And we have to find a solution and we are trying to find one.

"But if you want to push completely new technologies into racing then for sure at the very beginning only manufacturers will be able to do that, but what you don't want to do is close the door."

Ullrich added that he believed the rules would move towards a less restrictive use of hybrid technology after 2014, which would allow manufacturers to further explore the potential of the systems.

"The idea is that the most efficient car will be the one that has the best chances to run and I think that's the right way, because that is the same way that is relevant for our road cars.

"The ACO and the FIA leave [the door] in a certain way open, so future oriented technology should have a chance to show up in racing, improve the abilities, and I think this has always been a good motivation to use this later on for the road cars."

Kinoshita said that he believed Toyota's system was already capable of producing double the power it is allowed to employ within the current regulations.

"Theoretically speaking we can recover twice as much energy, by our calculations, so if there is no limitation to recover the maximum energy we can do much more with our hybrid systems," he said. "So I clearly hope we can recover more energy in the future."

shares
comments
Toyota optimistic race-simulation testing can make up for missing Spa race

Previous article

Toyota optimistic race-simulation testing can make up for missing Spa race

Next article

#1 Audi hybrid fastest again in final World Endurance Championship practice at Spa

#1 Audi hybrid fastest again in final World Endurance Championship practice at Spa
Load comments

About this article

Series WEC
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Simon Strang
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021
Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship Plus

Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship

Beyond the slender grid of headline-grabbing hypercars, there are numerous subplots and changes to look out for in the new season of the WEC, which gets underway at Spa this weekend. Here's the seven key things you need to know about

WEC
Apr 30, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Plus

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Plus

How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no works Aston Martins in the GTE-Pro class. As its new era in Formula 1 begins, Aston leaves behind a legacy of success courtesy of its Prodrive-run factory programme that was a hit from the word go in 2005

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Plus

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
Top 10 moments of an underrated British great Plus

Top 10 moments of an underrated British great

Brian Redman was one of the best sportscar drivers of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a three-time champion on the fearsome American Formula 5000 scene. To celebrate his 84th birthday Autosport contacted him about his best races – and he decided to write the piece himself…

WEC
Mar 9, 2021
How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams Plus

How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams

The G-Drive squad has been a mainstay of endurance racing in recent years, and has linked up with Russian manufacturer Aurus in recent years to promote its brand. With a change of rules in endurance racing's top tables, the team could be well-placed to take advantage of a potential boom...

WEC
Mar 7, 2021