The TS030 Hybrid was Toyota’s successor to the iconic TS010 and TS020 race cars that participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with podium success during the 1990s. Toyota was the first manufacturer to confirm its participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) using a hybrid system, emphasising the pioneering approach to a technology that, at the time, had seen five million Toyota hybrid vehicles sold worldwide.
Immediately successful, the TS030 Hybrid won three races in the six rounds it competed in during 2012, including the final two events of the season. It also set a new LMP1 lap record at Silverstone.
The car featured a carbon fibre LMP1 chassis developed and produced by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Cologne, Germany, where the race team is based. TMG is the former home of Toyota’s World Rally and Formula 1 works teams, and was responsible for the design and operation of the TS020 (GT-One) Le Mans car in 1998-99. TMG now combines works motorsport participation with a new direction as a high-performance engineering services provider to third party companies, as well as the Toyota family.
First unveiled in the 2012 season when it appeared in selected rounds of the WEC, the car was subsequently fine-tuned for the 2013 season ahead of new regulations due to be enforced in 2014. Work was affected on the powertrain, chassis and aerodynamics to improve power, efficiency, management of component usage and reliability. Meanwhile, the livery was almost identical to last year, save for a new silver roof and yellow Michelin logos. The shape of the rear wing, however, was revised, featuring a single support at each side.
Designed to deliver maximum performance, the revised THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System – Racing) powertrain featured a 3.4-litre normally-aspirated V8 petrol engine developing 530bhp along with super capacitor-based hybrid technology developed by official team partner Nisshinbo. The hybrid system used a front motor produced by Aisin AW and a rear motor developed by official team partner Denso. Working within regulations at the time, the hybrid system was limited to recovering a maximum of 500kJ between braking zones while restricting deployment – in this case, an additional boost of 300bhp under acceleration – to only two wheels.
Toyota Racing ran a two-car team for the 2013 WEC season. Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima teamed up again in the number 7 TS030 Hybrid. Meanwhile, TS030 Hybrid number 8 competed outside of Le Mans for the first time, with a team consisting of Anthony Davidson, Stéphane Sarrazin and Sébastien Buemi.