Toyota Sends a Hybrid To Le Mans

Traditionally, 24 Hours of Le Mans is about the cars that can go the fastest for the longest amount of time. The 56 cars that make the rounds at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France travel at an average speed of about 185 miles an hour for one entire day - and only the strongest contenders will make it through to the end. Only the best can win.

For the last decade, the best has been Audi, with their innovative diesel technology changing the entire concept of lightweight and high-powered vehicles. This year, however, race organizers opened the LMP1 class up to a car of a different color: the hybrid. And, as you know, 'Toyota' is practically synonymous with 'hybrid.'

At the qualifying rounds, (the first time a Toyota hybrid has ever run at Le Mans), the team took both fourth and sixth place with their TS030 Hybrids. Are the Germans getting nervous? We don't doubt it - Audi driver Allan McNish says, "they seem to be quite reliable from what I saw from eight hours of testing."1

The TS030 cars running at Le Mans this year are powered by 3.4-liter 90-degree V8 engines, and utilize a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) to capture energy during braking and then use it to power the rear wheels. With this system, Toyota will be able to drive this car at any speed, according to the latest rules from race organizers.

Will Toyota surprise us all and upset the team that's dominated Le Mans since 2000? We're certainly keeping our fingers crossed.

Get a taste for the regenerative braking and electrical power in every Toyota hybrid right here at Smart Toyota of Quad Cities. We'll let you take one for a spin, but we'll have to ask you to keep the speeds well below 185 miles an hour - please, leave the racing to the professionals.




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