Toyota has completed the first test proper of the TS030 Hybrid machine that it will run in selected rounds of the World Endurance Championship – including the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The team completed three-days of running at Paul Ricard in France having previously conducted a three-day roll-out at the same venue prior to the car's launch earlier this week.
Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima all spent time at the wheel of the car as the hybrid machine completed more than 2000km of running, with the team saying it was pleased with a 'satisfying level of performance and reliability'.
“Although we are a little behind schedule in terms of total mileage we have made very good use of our track time,” technical director Pascal Vasselon said. “It's important at this stage to give a first indication to our tyre partner Michelin about the development direction needed for the Toyota TS030 Hybrid and this has been done together with other performance developments.
“At the same time the pace is increasing as our drivers explore closer to the boundaries of the performance envelope of our package. We see clearly an acceleration of our development rate based on their indications. This gives a lot of push and dynamic to our track operation; it's an exciting time to be a Toyota Racing engineer.”
Former Williams F1 driver Nakajima was sampling the car for the first time and the Japanese racer was impressed by the potential of the hybrid machine.
“It was exciting to jump into the Toyota TS030 Hybrid for the first time and finally drive it for real after a few sessions in virtual reality on the TMG simulator,” he said. “The car has a lot of potential and gives the driver confidence, which is impressive considering the early stage of development. The hybrid system is very interesting; it feels quite natural and certainly gives a nice boost when it kicks in.
“We have made a good start to our testing programme but there is still plenty of work to do so I am looking forward to spending even more time in the car in the future.”