Hartley backed up Buemi’s comments:
“The fuel-saving aspect is very different from what we had before, so we’re attacking the braking phases more,” the New Zealander said.
“It’s a heavier car with less downforce, but it’s [still] very direct in steering. We’ve talked about the pleasure of driving it, all of us were all pleasantly surprised by the enjoyment we got.”
Designed and developed over the last eighteen month, Toyota’s new hybrid challenger utilises a four-wheel drive system. A 3.5 litre V6 twin-turbo powers the rear axle with up to 680bhp, whilst a motor-generator unit provides 270bhp to the front wheels and recovers energy to charge the lithium-ion battery.
While some powertrain technology has been carried over from the Hypercar’s predecessor, this still represents a relatively significant departure from last year’s all-conquering TS050 LMP1, which had two motor-generator units powering each axle, as opposed to this single front-mounted one.
The changes will force drivers to change their technique when dealing with traffic, said Hartley.
“It’s going to be really different, the dynamic of how we approach the traffic,” the New Zealander emphasised.
“It will be very important to put the perfect race together. More is going to come down to the driver”
“The way we accelerate will be different. Before, we had 1000bhp. We accelerated like a rocket and then we more or less flatlined and then decelerated before we braked.
“Now it’s a much more conventional power-curve and speed trace, we’re accelerating for the whole straight so you won’t see us rocket past out of the corners. We’re now going to be more often diving in under the brakes.
“Also the LMP2 and GTE cars, they’re going to have to adapt when they see us in the mirrors.
“That said, we’ll have a much heavier car with less downforce, so we won’t be braking much later than an LMP2 car either. There’s still much to learn and management within a race scenario. That’s part of the job and part of the race.