Hybrid factor - Final

And now I'm reaching the final part of the -Hybrid factor- posts which the ones I consider the main ones involving hybrid technology on racetrack: Audi and Toyota.

Before that, a few words fo history.

Isn't the first time that Audi and Toyota faced each other in Le Mans. Before changing to 21st century, in 1999, Audi, now in partnership with Team Joest(which remains until today), had gone with the R8R, and Toyota, who came of a 8th place in 1998 LM24, aligned the TS-020, also known as GT-One. That time, the best(and only remaining o three) Toyota GT-One finished 2nd, while the best Audi R8R finished 3rd.

After that, Toyota got out of sportscar racing to develop their F1 team, while Audi continued its sportscar program, that is the one of the longest dominance strings in Le Mans ever seen, staying out of the top spot of the LM24 podium in two times: in 2003, losing to Bentley, and 2009, losing to Peugeot.

Now, we go to 2012. Audi, trying to continue its dominance in sportscar racing, released an all-new version based on the successful R18, the R18 e-tron quattro, as you see in the photo. It features a 3.7-litre V6 turbo diesel mid-mounted engine, that takes care of the rear wheel drive, while the hybrid system, developed by Williams(yes, the same developer of the 977 GT3 R-Hybrid), that recovers energy by braking, has an electric motor that takes care of the front wheel drive, giving to the car four-wheel drive feature(that's why the "quattro" in the name), but by regulation limits, this hybrid feature is limited to 120 kph.

The R18 e-tron quattro is the dominant model in Le Mans nowadays, as in FIA World Endurance Championship, with 2 FIA WEC Drivers titles and 2 Constructors titles, as 2 Le Mans wins, everything in 2012 and 2013.

2012 marked the return of Toyota to sportscar racing, and with an important mission: try to defeat Audi in LMP1 category. To achive this, they showed their new weapon: the TS030 Hybrid.
It features a 3.4-litre normally aspirated, mid-mounted, petrol-powered engine. Unlike Audi's hybrid system, the energy stored in TS030's supercapacitor power up the rear-wheel drive, and because of this, by the ACO's regulations, the TS030 can use the hybrid system at any speed.

As its landmarks, there's 5 FIA WEC victories, 3 in 2012 and 2 in 2013, and a 2nd place in Le Mans 24 hours.

For 2014, sportscar regulation was severily modified by ACO, and even to benefit hybrid cars too. The first 2 examples of this change are the Porsche 919 Hybrid and the Nissan ZEOD RC, which I will talk as information of these cars come out. Until then, keep admiring these green beasts in the track.

See you next time.

Photos: Wikipedia.