Toyota launches updated TS050 Hybrid at WEC Prologue

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Toyota unveiled its updated challenger for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season, the TS050 Hybrid, at Monza on Friday ahead of the two-day collective ‘Prologue’ test.

Following a winless 2015, Toyota made great strides with its car heading into 2016, a season that will forever be remembered for its heartbreaking loss at Le Mans on the final lap of the race.

Toyota expands to a three-car effort at the Spa and Le Mans rounds in 2017, with previous full-timer Stephane Sarrazin moving into the No. 9 car alongside new arrivals Nicolas Lapierre and Yuji Kunimoto. Three-time WTCC champion Jose Maria Lopez replaces Sarrazin in the all-season line-up.

The No. 8 TS050 Hybrid will once again be shared between Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, while Lopez teams up with the returning Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi in the No. 7 car.

Toyota confirmed that the TS050 Hybrid will be racing with an all-new 2.4 liter V6 turbo-charged engine with an 8MJ hybrid system, the maximum permitted in the WEC. The car also features a number of aerodynamic changes following the revision of the technical regulations for the 2017 season.

“Our 2017 TS050 Hybrid represents a significant update; the only item which is not changed is the monocoque,” Toyota WEC technical chief Pascal Vasselon said.

“At several races last year we showed the potential of our car with strong performances. But to achieve our targets we need more, so as well as big aerodynamic changes, we have optimized each area for performance and weight.

“What happened at Le Mans last year was painful so we gave extra attention to quality management. Zero risk doesn’t exist so we operate according to a given level of risk, which this year we have reduced.

“Pre-season testing has gone well in terms of performance and reliability so we feel positive but we also know we face a tough competitor.”

The updated TS050 Hybrid will get its first public run at Monza on Saturday before making its race debut at Silverstone on April 16 upon the start of the new WEC season.

Formula 1: Recapping the past week’s news

Photo: Getty Images
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This past week in Formula 1 was dominated by teams launching their 2018 challengers for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

A total of six teams took the covers off their new chassis for the world to see this week, joining Haas F1 Team and Williams Martini Racing in doing so.

The list below contains the teams that launched their 2018 chassis this week and the name of their 2018 chassis:

  • Red Bull Racing – RB14
  • Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team – C37
  • Renault Sport F1 Team – R.S.18
  • Scuderia Ferrari – SJ71H
  • Mercedes AMG Petronas – W09
  • McLaren F1 Team – MCL33

Testing for everyone begins on Monday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home of the Spanish Grand Prix, beginning a stretch of two weeks of pre-season testing prior to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Sahara Force India and Scuderia Toro Rosso are expected to unveil their 2018 cars the morning of the first day of testing.

Force India Up for Sale?

Rumors about the future of Sahara Force India, already rumored to be changing names soon, took yet another interesting this week as news surfaced about a possible sale of the team to British energy drink firm Rich Energy.

This news also comes as current majority team owner Dr. Vijay Mallya faces developing legal troubles involving money laundering, further adding to the murky environment surrounding a team that has become the “best of the rest” behind Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull in recent years.

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