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.

Racing world reacts to Danica Patrick’s Daytona, Indy double news

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Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.

This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.

Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.

Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on

IMS President J. Douglas Boles

“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.

“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

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