Toyota launches V6-powered TS050 HYBRID LMP1 racer for 2016 WEC

Toyota has revealed that its all-new TS050 HYBRID World Endurance Championship contender is powered by a V6 twin-turbo engine

Toyota launches V6-powered TS050 HYBRID LMP1 racer for 2016 WEC

The Japanese manufacturer confirmed the configuration of the new powerplant on the launch of the TS050 at Paul Ricard on Thursday, ahead of this week's official pre-season WEC test at the French track.

GALLERY: Toyota launches TS050 HYBRID

The new powerplant, which replaces the 3.7-litre normally-aspirated V8 of 2014-15, has a 90-degree vee angle, is a 2.4 litres' capacity and rated at 493bhp.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon told Autosport: "With the fuel available and taking into account structural considerations, it was a natural step for us to move from a V8 to a small-capacity V6."

The announcement that Toyota would be switching away from normally-aspirated V8 was made at the Le Mans 24 Hours last year.

That followed the dramatic outpacing of last year's TS040 HYBRID by its rivals from Audi and Porsche in the Spa WEC round last May.

Vasselon explained that the "development rate and the development potential of a turbo is a bit higher" and "we understood after Spa that we should have made the switch for '15".

"A normally-aspirated V8 can provide good peak efficiency, but in a narrow rev range," he said.

"The turbo is able to be much more robust and more consistent in terms of peak fuel efficiency with rpm, temperature and ambient pressure."

Toyota has also switched from the supercapacitor energy-storage system that it has used since its WEC entry to a lithium-ion battery, as it moves up from the six to eight megajoule hybrid LMP1 class for 2016.

The twin-axle concept of the TS040 has been retained for the new car.

The TS050 is distinguished from its predecessor by a higher nose, though not as extreme as Audi's latest R18 e-tron quattro.

Toyota, which is running only one car in the WEC test on Friday and Saturday, plans to test both its high and low-downforce configurations this week.

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