2017 Toyota TS050 Hybrid Is Not Your Neighbor’s Prius

Toyota has made a name for itself as the industry leader in hybrid propulsion. This is its latest, but you shouldn’t expect to find it humming along in the carpool lane on your local stretch of highway.

Unveiled at Monza this weekend is Toyota’s latest endurance racing prototype, set to take on the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship and its headline event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new TS050 Hybrid is based on the version it ran last year, but has been all but completely redesigned to the point that it only shares its basic carbon-monocoque chassis with the 2016 version.

The hybrid LMP1 packs a 2.4-liter twin-turbo V6 engine paired with an 8-megajoule electric motor – the same as last year’s, only redesigned from the block up. The vehicle has also been reshaped in compliance with the latest changes to the regulations, designed to make the cars slower than last year’s in an effort to increase safety. It was presented in low-downforce specification for higher-speed tracks, with a higher-downforce package to follow for more technical circuits.

With Audi out of the way (and Nissan barely having flashed in the pan), the new Toyota will have to contend only with Porsche and its 919 Hybrid in this year’s championship and Le Mans race. Toyota won the former in 2014 and came tantalizingly close to the latter last year, and we’d expect it to push that much harder this time around to beat the Germans to the top step on the podium.

To that end, the Japanese outfit has lined up a top roster of drivers to handle the new TS050. Included among them are former F1 drivers Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, and Kazuki Nakajimi. They’ll be joined by LMP2 champ Nicolas Lapierre, Le Mans veteran Stéphane Sarrazin, and touring-car champ José María López, as well as Mike Conway and Yuji Kunimoto.

Photo Gallery

2019 Audi Q8 Now Available With Two More Engine Options

Audi is adding one petrol and one diesel mild-hybrid powertrain in the Q8’s range in Europe.

Toyota Reveals New Hiace Van Range In Philippines

Toyota’s new Hiace will be available in emerging markets but not the US, Europe or Japan.

Mercedes S-Class By Hofele Is A Unique Maybach Wannabe

The Ultimate S, as Hofele calls this Mercedes-Benz S-Class, is a one-off project.

Red Bull Racing Takes No Chances With Official 2019 F1 Livery

The look of the all-new RB15 is nearly identical to that of last year’s race car.

Life-Size LEGO VW T2 Bulli Camper Unveiled With Pop-Up Roof

The new LEGO VW T2 will be on display at the F.RE.E Leisure and Travel Fair in Munich.

Alfa Romeo Debuts 2019 F1 Livery With Giulia And Stelvio Branding

The car features both traditional Sauber white and blue colors as well as Alfa’s iconic red.

McLaren’s U.S. Sales Could Be Crippled By Other Markets’ Demand

If China and Europe bounce back, then McLaren may be forced to cut its yearly U.S. allocation.

Nissan X OPUS Concept Camper Is Powered By Recycled Leaf Batteries

The concept camper uses a battery pack with lithium-ion cells that can be recharged in just 1 hour.

2019 SsangYong Korando Previewed In Korea Ahead Of Geneva Debut

The fourth-gen Korando combines a Rexton-inspired exterior with a digitized interior.

Formula E’s BMW i8 Safety Car Has Us Wishing For An i8 M

Like previous years, the i8 acts as the electric series safety cars and has been fitter with a new livery.