Toyota Gazoo Racing has presented an updated GR010 Hybrid ahead of its FIA World Endurance Championship title defense which begins at Sebring next weekend.
The Japanese manufacturer is entering the second year of competition with its hybrid-powered LMH prototype but has made some adjustments based on the selection of new wheel and Michelin tire sizes.
Toyota will now use 12.5-inch RAYS wheels at the front and 14-inch wheels at the rear, replacing the 13-inch wheels that were fitted on both ends of the car last season.
This change has resulted in “small modifications” to the bodywork including enlarged endplates and a bigger engine cover fin to maintain the car’s aerodynamic performance.
Toyota has also adjusted the settings of the GR010 Hybrid’s 3.5-liter internal combustion engine in response to the introduction of a new renewable fuel in the WEC.
LMH manufacturers are allowed to make technical adjustments to their cars by utilizing up to five Evo jokers during the car’s homologation period, although Toyota has not outlined how it has applied jokers in this first off-season update.
“The whole team is excited to be racing again and we feel in good shape following a very efficient pre-season testing program,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing WEC technical director Pascal Vasselon.
“Development in the Hypercar class is tightly controlled by homologation rules. Consequently, there are relatively few changes for our GR010 Hybrid in 2022.
“Hypercar manufacturers can choose between 31-31 or 29-34 tires and this year we have moved to the 29-34 option, triggering some bodywork changes for cooling and to maintain aerodynamic performance within the homologation window.
“We expect this change to address challenges we faced last season with management of the rear tires.
“Additionally, the introduction of the new renewable fuel meant the engine settings had to be adjusted to account for slightly different characteristics.
“This new fuel is an important step on the journey towards carbon neutrality for Toyota Gazoo Racing and WEC, so we are very supportive of such innovation.
“We have validated all changes during our winter tests and we will take the final preparation steps this weekend with the Prologue in Sebring before racing begins; we are impatient to get started.”
Toyota is again running two cars in the WEC with the No. 7 being driven by world champions Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and new team principal Kamui Kobayashi.
The No. 8 lineup features the arrival of new signing Ryo Hirakawa, who replaces new TGR Europe vice chairman Kazuki Nakajima alongside Brendon Hartley and Sebastien Buemi.
“Everyone in the team is looking forward to start the 2022 season, especially at Sebring which is such a famous place for endurance racing,” said Kobayashi.
“Last year we won Le Mans and the world championships, so this is our target again.
“We found some areas to adjust the GR010 Hybrid last season so we have worked on those and I think our car will be more consistent now.
“Thanks to everyone in Toyota, our partners and the team members for the hard work and support to be ready for the 2022 WEC season.
“I am sure it will be an exciting year in the Hypercar class. We welcome the challenge from Peugeot, Glickenhaus and Alpine, and we look forward to giving the fans many memorable battles in the coming months. Thank you in advance for your support.”