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Dunlop Le Mans

2013 Toyota TS030 HYBRID Unveiled
A Finely-Tuned Revision

Toyota Racing has unveiled its challenger for the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship, a revised version of its TS030 HYBRID, and will begin testing at Paul Ricard from tomorrow (Wednesday).

There have been no major revisions to the car, with the focus being on fine-tuning the powertrain to improve power, efficiency, management of component usage and reliability. The chassis has also been modified, with the priorities being increased performance, reliability and serviceability.

A revised aerodynamic package, including an updated monocoque, is intended to deliver improved performance whilst minimising the impact of updated regulations in 2013 which increase the minimum weight for manufacturer LMP1 cars by 15kg. 

Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President:
What are your feelings ahead of Toyota Racing’s second season in WEC?
I am very excited by the new season and I cannot wait for it to start. We achieved more than we expected in 2012 but this only motivates us to push harder and enjoy more success. I am eager to see how the updated TS030 HYBRID performs in race conditions and it’s normal to also be a little tense before a season starts. We are competing against very tough opposition and we knew from the start of this project that we have to perform at our top level to achieve our goals. We believe we have made strong progress with the car but we will not know if it is enough until the chequered flag falls at Le Mans. My dream is to see a TS030 HYBRID crossing the line first.
Is it realistic to think about the Le Mans and WEC titles?
We took three out of six WEC races in 2012, and led Le Mans as well, so we showed not only potential, but solid results too. As a team we made big progress last year; we are still developing as a team but we can be proud of our hard work and fast learning. I believe it is realistic to target both titles but it will certainly not be easy; clearly we face an extremely strong competitor. It is a big challenge to become number one. We have huge respect for Audi’s achievements and abilities, so we expect an exciting competition in WEC this year.
Have you enjoyed your return to endurance racing?
Personally I have many memories of endurance racing, particularly of being engine engineer on the TS010 in 1992 when we finished first at Monza and second at Le Mans. So it was good to be back in the world of endurance racing last year. We enjoyed the competition and the atmosphere in the paddock, plus some fantastic race weekends in front of great crowds. I’m looking forward to more of the same this year.
Pascal Vasselon, Technical Director:
How significant is the update to the TS030 HYBRID?
There is a major regulation change in 2014 so this year’s car has to be an evolution of our initial concept. The obvious target is to fix all the little issues we have found during the last season. The very first one is that the 2012 car, being a laboratory car, was able to accept front and rear hybrid systems, so we have redesigned the monocoque to optimize it without the front motor. Last year’s performance was very satisfying and we felt we ticked most boxes so there has been no concept change, just refinement and optimization of the 2012 car.

What was the reason to retain all six drivers?
We thoroughly enjoyed working with Alex, Nicolas, Kazuki, Anthony, Stéphane and Sébastien in 2012 and their performances more than justified our choice. Retaining the same drivers was an easy choice. As well as showing impressive speed and great team spirit, they all contributed to developing the car and team during our first season. With a limited testing programme, their experience and dedication was a major factor in helping us win races in our first season of WEC. We cannot imagine a stronger driver line-up with which to approach next season.
Rob Leupen, Director Business Operations:
What was the most satisfying aspect of 2012 for you?
The development of the team as a unit was impressive. When we started the project we brought together staff from TMG, Motor Sport Division and ORECA - people from different cultures and with different types of experience. Very quickly we saw the group come together as a team, working together to solve problems and increase our performance level. Thanks to the positive approach and dedication of all team members and partners, we have taken a big step towards maturity in endurance racing. We still have work to do and lessons to learn, but the last year has shown how quickly this team can progress.
What are your ambitions for 2013?
We are motivated by winning so our ambition is to win Le Mans for the first time and to win our first FIA World Championship title since the World Rally Championship in 1999. But away from our on-track ambitions, I also hope to see the WEC go from strength to strength. Last year was a very encouraging first season back for the WEC and in particular I was impressed with the large, enthusiastic crowds we saw at venues like Fuji Speedway and Interlagos. We are part of an ambitious championship which has the potential to grow significantly as fans become familiar with the great racing, friendly atmosphere and technical innovation which are the hallmarks of WEC.
Hisatake Murata, Hybrid Project Leader:
How do you evaluate the performance of the Toyota HYBRID System - Racing in 2012?
It was a great experience for me simply to see this powertrain driving a TOYOTA LMP1 car for the first time and since that moment the story got better and better. Our system performed exceptionally well and clearly demonstrated the additional performance it is possible to generate via a hybrid system. I am very proud of the engineers, technicians and partners who developed and mastered this advanced technology; their hard work really paid off. Our reward was more than winning races; it was constantly motivating for us to hear the positive comments from the drivers about the extra 300hp hybrid boost and to watch them use this to their advantage on the track.

What has changed on the Toyota HYBRID System - Racing?
The major milestones in development of our hybrid system are 2012, when it was integrated into the TS030 HYBRID for the first time, and 2014, when the technical regulations change significantly. For this year we have achieved some incremental improvements while including some pre-testing of 2014 technologies. We have polished up things like power and efficiency whilst also fine-tuning the powertrain to enhance reliability. Overall we are confident we again have a very competitive and reliable powertrain.
John Litjens, Project Leader Chassis:
How do you evaluate the performance of the TS030 HYBRID in 2012?
We were very pleased with how the car performed last year. When we started the design process we had three priorities: integrating the hybrid system, aerodynamic efficiency and tyre management. Over the course of the season our car showed itself to be very strong in all three areas so we hit our targets for our first season. Nevertheless, we found many small areas for improvement during the season. We have prioritised the most important areas and attempted to address these with the updated specification; there is always room for improvement.
How many changes have been made for the 2013 TS030 HYBRID compared to last year’s car?
We took the chance to fine-tune various aspects of the car, making an evolution of the 2012 specification rather than a new concept. We have removed the front hybrid capability, resulting in more efficient packaging and aerodynamics. This helps us to manage the 15kg minimum weight increase without compromising performance too much. Our simulations show we have made good progress in performance, and our hands-on experience suggests we have eliminated some of the serviceability issues which occasionally cost time in 2012.

Alex Wurz, #7 TS030 HYBRID:
How was your first season with Toyota Racing?
My first season with Toyota Racing was fantastic; we exceeded our expectations for our debut year in WEC. But that was only the first step and we must now improve everything to become a clear number one in endurance racing. Last season was very encouraging and showed we absolutely have the potential to win Le Mans and the world championship if we get everything right. But we cannot be over confident; we still face a huge challenge and we need to perform at the highest level to achieve our goals.
What are your expectations of the revised TS030 HYBRID?
In the second half of last year we were the fastest car on the grid; we know Audi will not stand still so we need to continue pushing and increasing our performance level. I’m really looking forward to racing with the updated car. The guys have worked incredibly hard to fine-tune everything and we can feel a definite improvement. So I am expecting this year’s car to be even faster and we need to work hard to get the most out of the package.
What are your expectations for 2013?
I expect a tough battle with Audi but I expect Toyota Racing to be extremely competitive. We have a chance to achieve something really significant and we are highly motivated to take that chance. I think it will be an exciting season for the fans; it’s fantastic to have two manufacturers fighting so closely at such a high performance level and I believe this will help the WEC establish itself as a home of real racing.
Nicolas Lapierre, #7 TS030 HYBRID:
After a development season for the team in 2012, what are your thoughts looking ahead to 2013?
It was a big challenge for Toyota Racing to be ready in time to race in 2012, as that was not the original plan. But the team stepped up really impressively and maybe we even surprised ourselves at how competitive we were from the beginning. We made a lot of progress and this sets us up well for 2013, when our dream will be to win Le Mans and the WEC.
How big a challenge does Toyota Racing face in 2013?
It will not be easy to achieve our targets, we know that. But our car showed great performance last season and the designers have worked hard to find even more speed. So we have a good opportunity and we need to keep pushing through the winter to be ready to win from Silverstone onwards. Audi is a very strong competitor which we cannot under-estimate, therefore we will be giving it everything.
What are you expecting from the 2013-spec TS030 HYBRID?
The TS030 HYBRID was already a really impressive car but as a racing driver you always want more of everything; more power, more grip, more speed! To succeed in motorsport you need to constantly develop, which is what we did last year by looking at all details and trying to get the maximum out of the car. From what I have seen so far, the updated car looks like another step forward so I expect to be impressed again.
Kazuki Nakajima, #7 TS030 HYBRID:
How much progress did Toyota Racing make during 2012?
When I first visited Cologne after the WEC project was announced, only the monocoque had been produced. To go from that point to winning races within less than a year was significant progress. But it was not only the car which developed; there is a great team spirit within Toyota Racing which has grown and strengthened since we all worked together at the first test in January 2012. This gives us the foundations for a big push in 2013.
How much did you personally develop last season?
Last season was incredible for me. Throughout my career my goal has been to win an FIA world championship race, so to do this in a Toyota in front of our home fans at Fuji Speedway was emotional. Competing at Le Mans and experiencing this incredible race was also great, especially as I was following in my father’s footsteps. It was a really busy year for me but I was proud to end it by winning the WEC race at Fuji and also winning the Formula Nippon championship.
What are your thoughts about Le Mans and the WEC after your first experiences?
I had an amazing year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of racing at Le Mans and in WEC for the first time. The level is extremely high and the competition is very close, as we saw at Fuji when we won by only 11 seconds after six hours of racing. It’s been a new and interesting challenge to drive an LMP1 car for the first time but I’ve loved every minute of it.

Anthony Davidson, #8 TS030 HYBRID:
How is your fitness after your Le Mans accident last season?
I’m in great shape and ready to go; my fitness is as good as ever. I worked really hard to stay fit during my recovery so I was always confident of returning to peak condition. It was good to test the TS030 HYBRID again without any issues at all, and competing at the Daytona 24 Hours confirmed I’m back in shape. I must say a big thank you to my physio; her support and encouragement have been a huge help.
What are your targets for the coming season?
The big target for me is to win Le Mans for the first time. This year it is a decade since I first raced there so I have a lot of experience and I feel ready to win. When you are racing for a manufacturer team, especially one like Toyota Racing that has won WEC races so recently, it’s easy to set a target. I’m not here to make up the numbers; I am here to win.
How much has the team and car developed since your last race together?
It feels like a long time since Le Mans but I have stayed close with the team and I followed the WEC season so I know how fast the car was. During my simulator work at TMG I tested the updated aero package last year and a few weeks ago I drove the car itself again for the first time since Le Mans. The engineers have certainly been busy! Compared to a year ago, the car and the team have moved on and really benefited from the pressure of racing.
Stéphane Sarrazin, #8 TS030 HYBRID:
How do you rate Toyota Racing’s chances in 2013?
I am confident the car will be competitive and I am determined to win Le Mans. It’s a magical race and one that is incredibly difficult to win; you can never be confident about the result because so many things can happen. We saw last year with Anthony’s accident that what happens is sometimes out of your hands. I am sure we have the car to challenge Audi and we will be going full throttle to win.
How much has the TS030 HYBRID developed over the past year?
Even though I didn’t drive the car in the second half of last year, I saw firsthand how much progress the team made. Driving in LMP2 last season put me on the same track at the TS030 HYBRID and this gave me huge motivation to once again get behind the wheel. Finally I drove the car again in January and I immediately felt it has developed quite impressively since Le Mans. We took some positive steps in terms of aerodynamics so I can’t wait to race with it in WEC.
What are your personal targets this year?
For me the clear target above everything else is to win Le Mans, no question. I am part of a serious manufacturer team and this gives me a real chance to achieve this lifetime ambition.
Sébastien Buemi, #8 TS030 HYBRID:
What did you learn in 2012 as an endurance rookie?
I always wanted to race at Le Mans because it is a massive event and a huge challenge. For a driver it is challenging because you have a big speed difference between the cars, so there’s a lot of action. I got used to it pretty quickly and enjoyed myself. The other big difference is racing at night; it is very dark around the back of the track and you don’t have a lot of visibility. You have to keep your concentration and get into a rhythm.
How does the Toyota HYBRID System - Racing feel from a driver’s perspective?
It’s a fantastic feeling when the hybrid system kicks in and gives you 300hp of extra power. I didn’t know what to expect when I drove it for the first time, although my team-mates already told me it was something special. Overall I was impressed by the performance of the TS030 HYBRID; it gave the driver confidence and was really fun to drive.
Are you looking forward to racing again in WEC?
I can’t wait for the WEC season to start. It was cool to race at Le Mans last year and, with that experience, I feel even stronger and more confident. Unfortunately we didn’t reach the chequered flag but that has made me even more determined to succeed this time. The team is really strong as they showed by winning races last year so I think we have a good chance to fight at the front.