Toyota has officially unveiled its all-new Le Mans Hypercar that will compete in the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Following 18 months of development at the team’s headquarters in Cologne and powertrain facility at Higashi-Fuji, Toyota took the wraps off its GR010 HYBRID featuring a new twin-turbo V6 engine on Thursday, becoming the first manufacturer to reveal the latest generation of top class prototypes.

The car will contest the six-round WEC in 2021, with the season beginning at Sebring on 19 March.

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As part of a cost-cutting initiative in the WEC regulations, the new GR010 HYBRID is 162kg heavier and has 32% less power than its TS050 HYBRID predecessor, and has bigger dimensions. As a result, lap times at Le Mans are expected to be around 10 seconds slower compared to last year.

“It is a fascinating time for endurance racing, with the new Le Mans Hypercar class, and also for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, with the launch of the GR010 HYBRID,” said team president Hisatake Murata.

“This car represents our next generation of racing hybrid. During our LMP1 era, since 2012, we worked tirelessly to improve and strengthen our hybrid technology for racing.

“We set new standards with the TS050 HYBRID and our first loop of racing hybrid development is complete; this technology will be available to our future customers soon. Now the second stage will begin.

“Through our WEC participation, we will refine our racing hybrid powertrain in the GR010 HYBRID, enhance our understanding of hypercar technology and continually develop our staff.

“We do this with one clear goal: to deliver more exciting sportscars to our customers in the future. The GR010 HYBRID is a preview of our road-going cars and what we learn on the WEC race tracks will directly benefit our customers.

“For this reason, we are delighted to welcome new competitors to the top category of WEC; a tough fight on the track will inspire us to continuously improve and push the limits for better.”

Toyota has confirmed an unchanged driver line-up in its bid to defend its WEC drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles, as well as its Le Mans crown.

Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez will once again pilot Toyato’s reigning champion #7 entry, with 2020 Le Mans victors Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley driving the sister #8 car.

“The new regulations are designed to showcase road-relevant technology in WEC whilst also delivering a top-level, attractive spectacle,” said technical director Pascal Vasselon. “We are looking forward to welcoming new competitors and being part of an exciting future for endurance racing with our GR010 HYBRID.

“The new Le Mans Hypercar regulations mean the GR010 HYBRID is a completely new car, designed to a different philosophy. A major difference is the architecture of the hybrid system; we will have one kinetic energy recovery system and brake-by-wire, on the front axle. This means we had to install a starter motor and fully hydraulic rear brakes for the first time in our WEC project.

“Following the regulations, our car will have one bodywork specification to handle all circuits, so we needed to provide a wider working window for this car.

“These are just examples; there have been many such differences and challenges to address during development, so it has been an interesting engineering challenge. Now we are all looking forward to continuing our testing programme and finally seeing our new car compete; I think it will be worth the wait.”