Toyota has been spotted testing its new Toyota hybrid LMP1 Le Mans race car out on the track. Images were tweeted recently by Toyota UK public relations boss Scott Browniee.
In a sport that has been dominated by diesel power for at least the last six years, Toyota will enter the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans event using hybrid technology. This means it will run, at least partially, on electric propulsion.
The specifics of the powertrain are still unclear at this stage, however, the system is expected to incorporate regenerative braking technology to recharged the battery that powers the electric motor.
Whether the electric motor will provide boosts which can be used at the driver’s discretion, or if the electric motors will continuously, and seamlessly assist the petrol engine is also yet to be revealed.
Whatever the system entails, the aim will be to prolong times between pit stops, allowing the Toyota to keep lapping the famous Circuit de la Sarthe for extended periods of time.
The Toyota will be run by ORECA Racing, a team that has been in the high-end Le Mans and endurance racing business for 35 years. Drivers scheduled to pilot the new hybrid racer this year are set to include Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, and Kazuki Nakajima.