Brendon Hartley has been confirmed in Toyota’s 2021 World Endurance Championship driver line-up, with the Japanese manufacturer officially launching the GR010 Hybrid.
Toyota thus become the first manufacturer to peel the covers of the new Le Mans Hypercar.
The GR010 Hybrid incorporates a four-wheel drive racing hybrid powertrain, with a 3.5-litre V6 twin turbo engine, which delivers 680PS to the rear wheels.
Combined with a 272PS motor generator unit, the car’s total output is sits at 500kW (680PS).
If the look seems familiar,that is because the new prototype reflects the shape of the GR Super Sport hypercar, which is currently in development.
To mark the new era for Toyota GAZOO Racing, the livery includes the iconic GR lettering to indicate the link between race and road cars.
Hartley, who joined on with Toyota at the start of the 2019/20 WEC season, has been confirmed as one of the three drivers of the No.8 machine. He will be partnered with his 2020 Le Mans 24 Hour-winning co-driver’s Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.
Defending World Champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López will drive the No.7 machine.
“Fans are going to be pleasantly surprised with the GR010 HYBRID,” Hartley said. “It looks like a mix of an LMP1 and a road car.
“Endurance racing has always been a proving ground for new technology and now it is even more road car relevant. The GR010 HYBRID previews a car which the end user will experience on the road.
“It’s great to drive too, particularly with the hybrid four-wheel-drive which is a nice sensation from a driver’s perspective.
“The big difference (between the LMP1 and Hypercar) is the extra weight and a bit less horsepower and downforce, but it’s still just as much fun to drive as the TS050 HYBRID.
“We have a fun challenge ahead of us to extend the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing legacy at Le Mans and in WEC by continuing our winning run.”
Compared to its predecessor, the GR010 Hybrid is 162kg heavier and with 32% less power. Lap times around Le Mans are expected to be around 10secs slower. It also has bigger dimensions; it is 250mm longer, 100mm wider and 100mm higher.
For the first time since the beginning of its WEC project, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will participate without a rear motor generator unit (MGU), with the single permitted MGU located on the front axle.
This means a starter motor must be fitted on the GR010 HYBRID while fully hydraulic rear brakes are also required.
The new technical regulations for this season permit only a single homologated bodywork package, with only one adjustable aerodynamic device.
The GR010 Hybrid will therefore compete in the same specification at both low and high downforce circuits, with an adjustable rear wing modifying the aerodynamic characteristics.
“It is a fascinating time for endurance racing, with the new Le Mans Hypercar class, and also for Toyota Gazoo Racing, with the launch of the GR010 Hybrid,” team president Hisatake Murata said.
“This car represents our next generation of racing hybrid. During our LMP1 era, since 2012, we worked tirelessly to improve and strengthen our hybrid technology for racing.
“We set new standards with the TS050 Hybrid and our first loop of racing hybrid development is complete; this technology will be available to our future customers soon.
“Now the second stage will begin. Through our WEC participation, we will refine our racing hybrid powertrain in the GR010 Hybrid, enhance our understanding of hypercar technology and continually develop our staff.
“We do this with one clear goal: to deliver more exciting sports cars to our customers in the future.”