Fourth time lucky? Toyota’s 2015 TS040 Hybrid is ready for another Le Mans assault

The third time didn’t prove lucky for Toyota, which couldn’t defeat juggernaut Audi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. So for 2015, the Japanese carmaker is back with an updated version of its TS040 Hybrid, hoping to find success on its fourth attempt.

The 2015 Toyota TS040 Hybrid is largely the same as last year’s model, with some changes made to comply with new regulations. The car features a new front crash structure, new aerodynamic packages, and has lost a few pounds.

So while the new version may not look very different, Toyota says it redesigned 80 percent of the parts.

The powertrain still consists of a 3.7-liter V8 with electric assist, with a total system output of around 1,000 horsepower.

Le Mans rules classify cars in the top LMP-1H hybrid class based on the amount of energy they can recover per lap, with a minimum of 2 megajoules and a maximum of 8 mj allowed.

Toyota will stick with the 6-mj class it ran with last year. The 2015 Audi R18 e-tron quattro will be in the 4-mj class this year.

In addition to the updated Audi, the Toyota TS040 will also compete against the sophomore version of Porsche’s 919 Hybrid, and the new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO.

Audi still appears to be the dominant team, but Toyota’s impressive showing last year bodes well for 2015.

A TS040 won pole position at Le Mans last year, and while Toyota lost Le Mans, it won the 2014 World Endurance Championship, of which the legendary French race is a part.

Toyota says the 2015 TS040 has already logged 15,000 testing miles in Europe, but its race debut is still two weeks away at Silverstone in England. The Toyota team then heads to Le Mans in June to take another shot at ending Audi’s winning streak.

Since 2000, only two teams have been Audi at Le Mans. One was corporate cousin Bentley in 2003, the other Peugeot, in 2009. With three teams gunning for Le Mans glory this year, Audi may face its biggest challenge yet.

Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Cars

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.
Cars

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.
Cars

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.
Cars

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Outdoors

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.
Cars

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.