2021 marks the long-awaited debut of the FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar class. It hasn’t quite worked out how we’d hoped, with Aston Martin ducking out in favour of F1 and other manufacturers failing to come out of the woodwork, but with Toyota revealing its challenger for the LMP1-replacing category today, we’re getting excited.
It’s called the ‘GR010’, departing from the ‘TS0’ naming convention Toyota has used since 2012. The car has grown relative to its TS050 predecessor, measuring 250mm longer, 100mm wider and 100mm taller. With the Hypercar regulations giving a minimum weight figure of 1040kg, it’s also put on 162kg.
Without needing to chase such a low weight figure, Gazoo Racing engineers have been able to switch to a larger, comparatively less expensive engine. Instead of a dinky 2.4-litre twin-turbo V6, the GR010 uses a 3.5-litre engine in the same configuration. This produces 671bhp in line with the regulations, all of which is sent to the rear wheels.
There’s no longer any electrical assistance at the back, with the new rules stipulating the use of only a single electric motor at the front axle. The Aisin AW/Denso-developed unit provides the mandated 269bhp, although, with total power capped at 671bhp, the car’s powertrain management system will reduce engine output according to how much electric assistance the car is receiving.
What’s most exciting about all of this is there will be a road-going version. Although the rules do allow competitors to run a pure prototype, as Peugeot has done, Toyota has pledged to make a street-legal derivative dubbed the ‘GR Super Sport‘, and judging by the prototype the company showed off at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the bodywork will be incredibly similar to the racer’s. And that means it’ll be a tight squeeze if you want to fit two people inside.
Presumably, it’ll also run a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, and have the same inboard pushrod damper and double wishbone suspension setup. Without any FIA/ACO power regulations to worry about, the street car could supplement the internal combustion side of the equation rather than detracting from it, making it more powerful than the competition version. As a reminder, the concept GR Super Sport revealed a few years ago was rated at nearly 1000bhp.
As for the racer, the number 7 car will be driven by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway, and Jose Maria Lopez, with the number 8 machine pilot by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Brendon Hartley.
In 2021 the GR010 will only be racing against the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004, with Peugeot’s yet-to-be-named competitor set to enter at some point in 2022. In 2023, Porsche will join the WEC party via the more cost-effective LMDh regulations, with Audi expected to do the same that year.