2017 Toyota TS050 Hybrid #8 Pilots: S. Buemi, A. Davidson, K. Nakajima Team: Toyota Gazoo Racing Race: 8th overall (2nd in LMP1-H) at Le Mans in 2017 Spark - S5804 (resin)
The TS050 is the evolution of Toyota’s TS040, that the brand campaigned in the WEC in 2014 and 2015. Though the TS040 achieved consistent results, even with a third place at Le Mans in 2014, Toyota wanted a win. So the new car received quite a few changes. Probably the biggest was in the engine bay – gone was the aspirated V8, in came a bi-turbo V4.
The new engine was a 90° V4 displacing 2.4 liters, with 16 valves and direct fuel injection. With the two turbos it could produce up to 493 hp. But being a hybrid, the TS050 also counted on electric power, with one electric motor on each axle. These electric motors, powered by KERS, allow a temporary burst of another 493 hp. So when the pilot wishes, the car becomes a 987 hp all-wheel drive monster. The chassis of the TS050 was a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque, enveloped in a carbon fiber composite body.
The 24 Heures du Mans of 2016 was heartbreaking, for Toyota and racing fans alike. To see the leading TS050 #5 stop on the track side with only minutes to the end of the race… So Toyota didn’t want to take any chances, and for 2017 Gazoo Racing had three cars on the track. Unfortunately though, Le Mans is not an exact science, and only car #8 finished the race. Porsche won again and Toyota was still out of a Le Mans win.
Fortunately however, in 1:43 scale, #8 is a winner. Spark once again did a fantastic job on the model, and it’s stunning. Even so, I doubt this one will be of much interest, except for the Le Mans and/or Toyota fan. And of course, it’s nice to see the evolution of the TS-020.