Toyota unveils updated GR010 hybrid for 2022 WEC season

Toyota unveils updated GR010 hybrid for 2022 WEC season

The change in front and rear wheel and tire sizes described by last month has been confirmed, along with the necessary aero revisions following the change to maintain airflow and stay within the set performance windows. by LMH regulations.

Toyota’s revised challenger, which will race for the first time in the 2022 WEC season opener at Sebring on March 18, now uses 12.5-inch front wheels and 14-inch rear wheels rather than standard wheels. 13 inches he ran on all four corners last year.

These are the two options currently allowed in the rules and have been designed to reflect the different requirements of four-wheel-drive hybrids and rear-wheel-drive only cars.

Pascal Vasselon, technical director of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, explained that the change was designed “to address the challenges we faced last season with rear tire management”.

A taller and longer engine cowl fin, also known as a dorsal fin, and widened rear fender endplates were described by Toyota as “the most noticeable” of the aerodynamic changes.

The two aerodynamic fences above the cockpit have also been revised and are now longer.

Kamui Kobayashi, who will combine defending the title he won with Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez last year with his new role as Team Principal of the WEC team, said: “We have found areas to tweaking the GR010 Hybrid last season, so we worked on those, and I think our car will be more consistent now.

No mention was made in Toyota’s preview of the Sebring event, which begins with the official Prologue pre-season test this weekend, of the change for this season to the so-called ‘Rule 120’. .

This was the minimum speed in kilometers per hour at which hybrid power could be deployed to the front axle when the car was fitted with dry weather slicks.

This and the 150kph minimum previously applied when a hybrid was on grooved rubber have been moved from the technical rules to the balance of performance system, meaning these speeds can change from track to track. other and from car to car according to the BoP published before each race.

Engine settings for the GR010 have been adjusted for 2022 to accommodate the introduction of a new 100% renewable fuel from sole-source, TotalEnergies.

Vasselon described the new fuel made from waste from the wine industry as “an important step on the road to carbon neutrality for Toyota Gazoo Racing and the WEC”.

“We have validated all the changes during our winter testing and we will go through the final stages of preparation this weekend with the prologue at Sebring before the start of the races,” he added. “We can’t wait to get started.”

Toyota has not confirmed how many of the five so-called “evo wildcards” it has been allowed under the LMH regulation lifetime it has used with upgrades for 2022.

The GR010 will take place at the 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway for the first time this weekend after the US WEC game was canceled last year following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toyota won the inaugural Sebring 1000 Miles three years ago, part of the 2018/19 WEC “super season”, with Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima driving a Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1.

Nakajima is now vice president of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe after retiring from the cockpit at the end of the last few seasons.

The 37-year-old Japanese will support the team’s operations at WEC races as well as mentoring Ryo Hirakawa, who took his place in the second Toyota alongside Buemi and Brendon Hartley.

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