Toyota has been teasing their new Le Man's challenger for some time now. Last year, we got to see it, albeit covered in camouflage, after the automaker won the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans. This time, we finally get to see without the camouflage and wearing its new racing livery.
Officially called the GR010 Hybrid, it is Toyota's 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) contender for the new Hypercar class. More importantly, it will defend the automaker's title as the reigning World Champions and as three-time Le Mans winners.
According to Toyota, the GR010 prototype was developed over the past 18 months at their headquarters in Cologne, Germany. However, the hybrid powertrain was built and tested in Japan. Speaking of power, the GR010 uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 providing 680 PS to the rear wheels.
An electric powertrain then sends an additional 272 PS to the front wheels. Due to regulations, power is capped at 680 PS. Toyota says the GR010's electronics reduce engine power according to the amount of hybrid boost deployed.
Compared to its predecessor, the TS050, the GR010 has grown in size. In particular, it is 250mm longer, 100mm wider, and 100mm taller. Due to regulation changes, it is also heavier, tipping the scales at 1,040kg. Toyota expects it to be 10 seconds slower around the Circuit de La Sarthe compared to its LMP1 predecessor.
Defending Toyota's crown will be the same drivers as last year's WEC lineup. Reigning champions Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway, and Jose Maria Lopez will drive Toyota's #7 entry. Meanwhile, Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Brendon Hartley will race in the #8 GR010.
What's exciting about the GR010's debut is that it signals a road-going version will be arriving in the near future. Called the GR Super Sport, it will likely use the same hybrid powertrain and suspension setup. As for power, it could be a lot more than 680 PS. Remember, the road car does not have to be restricted by racing class regulations.
When will we see Toyota's GR Super Sport hypercar on the road? Toyota has kept a tight lip, but hopefully, it's sometime soon. For now, we can just imagine what it looks like based on this GR010 racer.