The 2017 season of the World Endurance Championship will be very special for the Argentines, which begins this weekend with the 6 Hours of Silverstone, with the participation of José María López in Toyota GAZOO Racing.
Pechito will share the driving of the TS050 HYBRID prototype with the number 7 with the Englishman Mike Conway and the Japanese Kamui Kobayashi. While the unit identified with number 8 will be led by the Swiss Sébastien Buemi, the British Anthony Davidson and the Japanese Kazuki Nakajima. There will be a third car, which will have the number 9, in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans and will be driven by the French Stéphane Sarrazin and Nicolas Lapierre and the Japanese Yuji Kunimoto.
Toyota GAZOO Racing has set a clear goal to achieve its maiden victory at Le Mans, after coming close to achieving it last year. For this, a great joint effort has been made by the personnel of its technical centers in Higashi-Fuji (Japan) and Cologne (Germany), which have renewed the TS050 HYBRID in all its aspects.
The 2017 concept car is powered by a turbocharged 6-liter V2.4 engine, paired with an 8MJ hybrid system. Considerable efforts at Higashi-Fuji have led to the introduction of a new engine that optimizes thermal efficiency by increasing the compression ratio thanks to the development of the combustion chamber, cylinder block and cylinder head.
The hybrid system has also been optimized. The size and weight of the electric motor generating units - motor generator units (MGU) - have been reduced, and the high-power lithium-ion battery has also been further developed.
The WEC regulation for 2017 seeks a reduction in aerodynamic efficiency to increase the lap time by a few seconds for safety reasons. This has already been achieved by raising the front splitter 15mm and narrowing the rear diffuser. Using tools such as computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnels, Toyota GAZOO Racing has modified its aerodynamic concept to meet this challenge; a raised front and some changes in the circulation of the air towards the wheel arches are the most striking modifications.
Under the new regulations, teams must be limited to two aerodynamic configurations per season compared to three in 2016. Tire use has also been restricted and each vehicle is limited to four sets, plus two replacement tires, for qualifying. and the six-hour races.
Other changes to the regulations have also been made to improve safety. The mirrors now have to pass a field test for increased visibility and hybrid vehicles have to carry lights that indicate normal engine operation. If the green safety light is not on during the race, the car will be forced to pit for repair.
The TS050 HYBRID with the 2017 specification has already covered more than 30.000 kilometers this year in a total of five tests at the circuits of Paul Ricard (France), Motorland Aragón (Spain) and Portimao (Portugal), including four endurance tests of 30 hours.
With a revamped vehicle and a team of drivers that includes former world champions, like Lopez himself, and several WEC race winners, Toyota GAZOO Racing heads for the season opener on April 16 at Silverstone ( England), with great determination, looking forward to a close and exciting battle during the nine races of the championship.[sam_pro id = "0_2" codes = "true"]