Toyota changes engine concept for 2016 World Endurance Championship

Toyota will swap to a new engine for its assault on next year's World Endurance Championship

Toyota changes engine concept for 2016 World Endurance Championship

The Japanese manufacturer has announced that it will abandon its existing 3.7-litre normally-aspirated V8 powerplant for an engine of undisclosed configuration at the same time as confirming that it will switch from a super-capacitor to a battery energy-storage system.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH team director Rob Leupen told AUTOSPORT: "We will switch to a new engine and Japan is working hard on it already, but all we can say is that it will be petrol powered."

The team refused to confirm that the new motor will be a small-capacity turbo similar in concept to Porsche's two-litre V4.

TMG technical director Pascal Vasselon has previously explained that a turbo unit offers more consistency of performance over a range of conditions than a normally-aspirated engine.

Toyota will retain the twin-axle kinetic energy-retrieval systems of its existing TS040 HYBRID but move to battery storage to allow it to move into the highest subclass of hybrid power that allows for eight megajoules to be deployed over the Le Mans lap.

"We feel we have to be in the 8MJ class; you can do that with a super-capacitor, but there is a downside on weight," explained Leupen.

Toyota had planned to introduce battery storage next year and the new engine in 2017, but its performances in the opening two rounds of the WEC led to a decision to take the two steps at once.

"Now we have decided that we don't want two years of development and that we put everything together," said Leupen.

The 2016 Toyota, to be known as the TS050, is in the advanced stages of design and the first drawings will be released shortly to allow manufacturing to begin.

The new car will run for the first time in January, as the TS040 did this year.

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