Because this hybrid ruled the 2014 World Endurance Championship. It finished one-two on debut in Silverstone, dominated at Spa, and humbled both Porsche and Audi en route to winning the WEC. Did it win Le Mans, though? The TS040 started on pole, led the race, and was all poised to deliver Toyota’s first Le Mans win … until an FIA-mandated piece of equipment failed, costing Nakajima a well-earned victory.
Toyota’s Le Mans jinx is powerful juju indeed.
With its two MGUs fore and aft, four-wheel thrust, 1,000hp, and an ingenious wing, though, this is a car that will go down in history as one of the finest examples of the early years of hybrid technology despite its Le Mans failure. A V8 3.7 litre with twin motor generators along with a super capacitor ensure low-down torque as well as pushing the TS040 from 60-280kph at mind-warping speed; power coming through all four wheels ensures some neck-snapping G-forces as well.
Why Le Mans?
Because three minutes and a few seconds. Toyota came back to Le Mans in 2016 with their evolution of the TS040. The TS050 replaced the meaty V8 with a more industry-standard 2.4 litre turbo V6, and it, too, should have won. It came within a lap of overall glory—before, yet again, succumbing to Toyota’s Le Mans curse. On the very final lap of a 24 hour race—23 hours, 57 minutes down, with three minutes to go —it stumbled … and died …
But that’s why you’re here … to bring some glory to Toyota. Your challenge? Beat Jonathan “Cluck” Le Clercq’s 3.26.918. In the end, that was all that stood between Toyota and winning Le Mans.
For the record, the official pole lap in 2014 was Nakajima’s 3:21.789.