Hybrid hypercar to compete in upcoming Le Mans series
Toyota has used the 24 Hours of Le Mans to announce the GR Super Sports Concept, initially revealed at Tokyo Auto Salon in January, will be put into production – well, sort of.
The car will form the base of a racer, set to compete in the just-announced 'hypercar' class of the FIA World Endurance Championship when new regulations take force in 2020. Beyond that, details about the stunning racer for the road are hard to come by.
With power from a twin-turbo V6 engine and a Toyota racing hybrid system (THS-R) making 735kW, the Super Sports race car will, depending on how other car manufacturers play their cards, go head-to-head with race-ready versions of the McLaren Senna and Aston Martin Valkyrie.
Cars competing in the 'Hypercar Class' – an official name will be determined by public vote – will make use of a KERS-style hybrid system, and manufacturers are expected to spend time making them look good. The FIA actually said "aerodynamics cannot take precedence over aesthetics" in its official materials, suggesting a field of eye-popping racers could be coming our way.
At the moment, the top 'LMP1' class in the World Endurance Championship is home to spaceships like the Toyota TS050 and Porsche 919 Hybrid. High costs, combined with the Volkswagen Group's renewed focus on electric mobility, led to Porsche and Audi leaving the hotly-contested class in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
"The new regulations for the FIA World Endurance Championship, which come into effect for the 2020/2021 season, are the result of hard work between members of the FIA, ACO, manufacturers, and teams," said Jean Todt, FIA president.
"This will provide endurance racing with a long term, stable platform, while continuing to offer a cost-effective stage to showcase future technologies."
Don't think these new 'hypercars' will be slow. The rules are targeting a 3:20.00 lap around Circuit De La Sarthe, just six seconds slower than the current lap record, set by Kamui Kobayashi in 2017.