Toyota’s Le Mans car is 4WD

Toyota has broken its silence over this year’s Le Mans car, confirming its 2014 LMP1 competitor is a four-wheel-drive hybrid V8. Meet the new ‘TS040’.

This year promises to be a big one for Le Mans, with Porsche returning and Audi defending its 24-hour crown. Not to be outdone by the German hybrid pairing, Toyota has now confirmed it will use an electric motor on the front axle of its new TS040.

It’s an Aisin AW motor/generator that works in combination with the DENSO unit at the back: when the car brakes, the motor/generator applies braking force (along with the mechanical brakes), which is transferred to a DENSO inverter to the super capacitor. When you apply lots of throttle, the motor/generator reverses it function and delivers a boost of poweeerrr.

The system is allied to a petrol V8, with the whole chassis said to be more aerodynamically advanced and lightweight than last year’s car. Good news then, for Toyota drivers Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin.

Audi, of course, is resolutely sticking to its formula of V6 diesel/electric motor, while Porsche’s 919 will use a four-pot petrol turbo and electric power. We’ll get a clearer picture of how all three shape up after the first official WEC test on 28-29 March.

V6 diesel hybrid, four-cyl petrol hybrid, V8 petrol hybrid. Who’s your money on?

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