Toyota building hybrid LMP1 racer for Le Mans assault

October 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has been the front runner in hybrid-powered passenger vehicles for many years and is now setting its sights on hybrid race car domination. The company’s racing division, Toyota Motorsport, announced today that it will enter the 2012 World Endurance Championship with a new hybrid weapon.

The last time Toyota competed in Le Mans racing was in 1999, before the Japanese automaker abandoned its GT-One program to focus on Formula One.

Now, Toyota is busy developing a brand-new, gasoline-electric hybrid racer that will compete in the top LMP1 class. The chassis is in development with Toyota Motorsport at its Cologne, Germany headquarters, which previously served as the Formula 1 base. The prototype race car’s hybrid powertrain will be engineered in Japan. Continue reading “Toyota building hybrid LMP1 racer for Le Mans assault” »

Aston Martin asks fans to name next Le Mans prototype racer

December 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Aston Martin is preparing a comeback to the cut-throat world of Le Mans racing, entering next year’s 24-hour endurance race with a new LMP1 race car. With a rich racing pedigree to protect it’s sure to be a competitive entry but the only problem is that Aston Martin is in need of a new, emotive name for its latest race car. So what? Well Aston is asking its fans to come up with a suitable moniker.

Aston Martin is giving its enthusiasts an opportunity to be part of the company’s history, and be in with a chance to win a range of Aston Martin and Aston Martin Racing merchandise by suggesting a name for this race car through the official Aston Martin website.

The tough part is that those who offer a suggestion need to give a reason behind their chosen name. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges and entries need to be received by January 3, so now is the time to strike.

With new regulations coming into play in 2011 Aston believes its car will stack up well against the diesels of Peugeot and Audi. Official details on the new Aston Martin LMP1 race car have not been released at this point – all that’s known is that it will burn gasoline. Development of the race car has been in progress for several months at Aston Martin’s race headquarters in Banbury, UK. Six cars are to be built, and the first will begin testing early next year. Continue reading “Aston Martin asks fans to name next Le Mans prototype racer” »

Audi unleashes big-eyed R18 Le Mans prototype racer

December 13th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Audi has just pulled the covers off its newest LMP1 Le Mans prototype racer, the R18. The new machine looks suitably hardcore and has abandoned the open-top design of its predecessors — the R8, R10 and R15 Plus — for a closed roof to improve aerodynamics and reduce driver fatigue. Audi has been very successful at the Le Mans 24 Hours race in recent years winning it nine times since 1999 with the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI. The R18 looks set to continue the legacy.

Unlike the earlier R15, which used a 5.5-litre V10 diesel engine, the new model generates power from a much smaller, 3.7-litre TDI V6 engine, mated to a modified six-speed transmission.

The R18 uses a single-piece carbon fibre monocoque, which keeps weight down and increases stiffness.

In terms of exterior design the headlights are the most eye-catching parts of the R18. The headlights make use of “optimised” LED technology, they incorporate Audi light designers’ personal touch: daytime running lights shaped like a “1″.

The Audi R18 was first approved in mid 2009, while engine testing began in summer 2010. The first track test took place at the end of November and Audi is now planning to enter three cars into next years Le Mans 24 hour endurance race.

Check out more images of the Audi R18 in the gallery below. Continue reading “Audi unleashes big-eyed R18 Le Mans prototype racer” »