Toyota TS040 Hybrid prepares to do all-wheel drive battle with Audi and Porsche at Le Mans

toyota ts040 hybrid le mans prototype teased cutaway

The 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans is shaping up to be quite the technical showcase, with each of the competitors in the top LMP1 class using hybrid powertrains.

This is nothing new for Toyota. Back in 2012, the Japanese automaker provided a rival for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the form of the TS030 Hybrid. Audi took the win in that first-ever duel of endurance-racing hybrids, but Toyota hasn’t given up yet.

The company updated the TS030 for 2013, but for this year’s season it will field a new racer dubbed TS040 Hybrid.

Toyota TS040 Hybrid cutaway

The most novel thing about the new Toyota is that it, like its German rival, will have all-wheel drive. Like the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, the TS040 will use an electric motor-generator to power its front wheels. Power will be accumulated under braking, and discharged during acceleration.

The TS040 will use the same naturally-aspirated turbocharged 3.4-liter V8 as the old TS030 to power its rear wheels.

Toyota says the chassis has also been redesigned to lower weight, improve aerodynamics, and comply with regulation changes that effect this year.

However, the TS040 Hybrid won’t show its face until March, when Toyota plans to unveil it at the testing session for the 2014 World Endurance Championship.

The season begins April 20 with the 6 Hours of Silverstone, but all eyes will be on the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. For the 2014 edition of this most-famous endurance race, the TS040 will once again compete with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, as well as the new Porsche 919 Hybrid.

Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.