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Toyota Reveals “Further Optimized” TS050 for Title Defense

Toyota takes the wraps off its updated LMP1 challenger for the 2019-20 WEC season…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing has revealed a “further optimized” version of its Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car ahead of its FIA World Endurance Championship double title defense.

The Japanese marque is continuing with its longest-serving LMP1 machine for a fourth season after clinching both the 2018-19 drivers’ and teams’ championships.

The most obvious change to the car, which also recently secured back-to-back 24 Hours of Le Mans wins, is a new aero configuration led by a higher nose section.

It also features an updated livery, with new red strips flowing over the wheel arches and a black front-end contributing to the refresh.

Toyota LMP1 technical director Pascal Vasselon explained that the manufacturer’s 2019-20 contender is “not radically different” from last season’s car.

“We introduced the TS050 Hybrid in 2016 so there has been ongoing development over the seasons; this year’s updates are about optimizing details and reliability,” he said.

“The most obvious change is the bodywork; we have updated the aerodynamics of the car and elsewhere there are minor modifications for reliability.”

Vasselon added that development of the car was ongoing throughout the 2018-19 season, and that Toyota “could not stand still” amid improvements from its LMP1 non-hybrid competition.

Despite continual performance gains from the privateers, Toyota still went on to win all but one of the races and finished 1-2 in six of the eight rounds held.

“Obviously, last season we had the strongest package and this showed in the race results,” said Vasselon.

“But when you look at the development rate of our competitors, from Le Mans 2018 to Le Mans 2019, you see a big step in their performance.

“Out of respect for their ability to improve their cars and extract more performance from their package, we could not stand still.

“We have never under-estimated their capabilities so we needed to continuously improve our package wherever it was possible and efficient.”

The upcoming WEC season will be the last for the TS050 Hybrid, with Toyota currently developing a new car based on the GR Super Sport concept for the 2020-21 ‘Hypercar’ regulations.

Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima will defend their drivers’ title with Brendon Hartley, who has replaced Fernando Alonso in the No. 8 car for the new season.

The No. 7 Toyota’s lineup of Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway is unchanged, meanwhile.

Photos: Toyota

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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