Toyota Gazoo Racing is looking into breaking its own lap record at Le Mans with its TS050 HYBRID, which is due to be retired at the end of the current FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Speaking to DSC at TMG’s headquarters in Cologne, Toyota Gazoo Racing team director and TMG vice president Rob Leupen said there is a desire from Toyota to see what the current iteration of the car can do without the Success Handicap restrictions imposed on the car during the current FIA WEC season.
“The record-breaking 3:14.793 from Kamui (Kobayashi, at Le Mans in 2017), it was a great moment, I will never forget this,” he said. “I can say now I had in my mind that we could get below 3:15. I even told this to a journalist, who said: ‘you’re crazy’. Normally you like to push the limits, what he did was sensational.
“The current regulations don’t allow us to show what really is possible. Because the performance of our car is really held back due to the EoT (Success Handicap) we have today. The car has a new aero package, so it was it made it even quicker, but we agreed we need to have racing (with the privateers).
“So what I would like to see happening is maybe we can find an occasion where we can unleash the car and give it the full power and reach the full performance envelope it has and complete another Le Mans quick lap. That would have been a would be something I really would like to see as we are not allowed to let it go.
“I think there is much more to come. And we know that the car can do much more but because of regulations it is not yet possible to showcase this.”
Would Toyota consider doing something similar what Porsche did with the 919 in 2018, when it took an unrestricted 919 Evo ‘Tribute’ to break circuit lap records at Spa and the Nürburgring, in addition to various other demo runs?
“We are thinking very hard about doing this. But at the present moment, it’s only thinking. Yes, I would like to see our car’s full potential with good drivers in Le Mans. Imagine Kamui doing another lap attack there with a completely unleashed TS050? 3:10?”
In order to break the Le Mans lap record again, Toyota would need to find a way to take to the full track with an unrestricted TS050 HYBRID. There are only a few opportunities each year when the full Circuit de la Sarthe is in operation. In 2020 that would be the Le Mans Test Day, Le Mans race week or the Le Mans Classic.
There will be plenty more content on DSC stemming from its trip to TMG in Cologne last week, as well as podcast material on the Marshall Pruett Podcast. Keep an eye for more between now and early January.