Toyota Testing Prototype for New High-Performance Hybrid

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When most Americans think of hybrid cars, trips to the grocery store and fuel-efficient interstate trips tend to come to mind since, according to stats compiled by Statistic Brain, two million hybrids were sold in the U.S. in 2012. However, Toyota is working to bring hybrid technology to racing and is testing a new Le Mans prototype to use competitively in the 2014 World Endurance Championship. The manufacturer made its return to endurance racing in 2012 with the TS030 hybrid and looks to make improvements, and become more successful, with the new TS040 hybrid model.

New video of the high-performance hybrid is a bit blurry, and doesn’t give viewers a complete view of what the car will look like. It does feature the sound of the engine though, and it seems powerful enough to compete at the highest level.

Detailed performance and technical details are yet to be released, but it is known that the TS040 will feature a V-8 petrol and electric motor in the back along with another motor driving the front axle. As a result, it will have four-wheel drive capability. The improved traction control will give the Toyota car a better opportunity to compete with its Porsche and Audi rivals.

Where the new TS040 will hopefully set itself apart is with the V-8 engine. Its Audi counterpart features a turbodiesel V-6 and Porsche still features a V-4. The combination of handling and power should allow the Toyota to achieve top speeds and performance, which stands in stark difference from the general consensus about hybrid vehicles.

“We are very much looking forward to this new season with our new car, the TS040 HYBRID. The 2014 season is an important one for TOYOTA Racing,” said Toyota Racing team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita. “After two years we have built up a lot of experience and now, with new regulations, all teams start from a level playing field.”

The TS040, with all of its performance features, isn’t going to be available to the average American consumer. But it does show that hybrid engines don’t have to come up short on power and can be great for more than just getting from “A” to “B.”

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