In the past, the Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS) has been a pilgrimage for petrol heads. Mostly consisting of cars which were made to guzzle fuel at incredible rates in a bid to claim the title of world’s fastest, Goodwood has not exactly been the ideal haven for the more environmentally conscious minded person, and nor was it ever meant to be. Instead, Goodwood has always been meant as a celebration of the motor car, particularly the sporting variety, which as we all know has mostly been powered by fossil fuel over the last century.
However, 2014 sees a slight shift in this 20 year old tradition. Hybrid and even electric vehicles are now a mainstay and large part of the events attraction. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because they’re hybrid or electric they were created to save the planet – far from it – most of the vehicles we’re talking about were conceived out of a passion for speed and competition.
We’ve already posted that the new and exciting Honda NSX and BMW i8 will be making their presence known at this years’ 2014 FoS, both of which are hybrid sports cars and together with them there will no doubt be the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder- both hybrid hyper cars. Although sales for these vehicles will be in limited numbers, perhaps with the exception of the BMW i8, there will be some even rarer automobiles on show at the Toyota stand.
Toyota will bring together four of its works Le Mans race cars at a single event for the first time. Charting the progress from the TS010 of early 1990s which was fuelled purely by fuel, through to this season’s contender, the new TS040 Hybrid, which will be unveiled in six days time on 27th March. The gathering of Le Mans designed racing cars will show a unique lineage of development from the Japanese manufacturer and show how ultimately hybrid power has prevailed, even before this years regulations that make it mandatory for LMP class vehicles.
Driving the hybrid TS040 will be world class driver Anthony Davidson who will be demonstrating the incredible performance of a modern racing car at the pinnacle of it’s motor sport.
Taking the battle to the all conquering Audi team, Toyota returned to Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2012 with the TS030 Hybrid, a car which showcased how advanced hybrid power technology can successfully be applied to the highest levels of international motorsport. In two seasons of racing it garnered five pole positions and 10 podium finishes, including five race victories.
The TS040 is this year’s Le Mans contender which Toyota hopes will achieve their first win at the world famous racing circuit over a gruelling 24 hours. Le Mans is of course only one track in the FIA WEC season. The TS040’s appearance at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed will follow on from it’s Le Mans debut over the weekend of 14 – 15 June, so there could well be additional celebrations – or commiserations – depending on the outcome.
Although most petrol heads will know of the enduring legend that is the Pikes Peak hill climb, it is a lesser known event that has garnered more and more exposure over the last few years in particular. Gone is the old half tarmac half gravel course and with it the end of an era where breaking the 10 minute completion barrier is relatively easy in comparison to the previous hair raising course. However, that is not to say that it is easy at all. In the fossil fuel world, Peugeot is the current king of the hill with an incredible climb time set by Sebastian Loeb which took a mere 8m 13.878s. However, there are other classes and they are rapidly encroaching on the fossil fuel powered times.
The problem with internal combustion engines (ICE) on a mountain hill climb is that the air becomes much toward the upper parts of the course than it is at the base. As such, ICE’s struggle when at the top and are heavily down on power. That used not to matter when the course meant that the latter stages were off-road but now that the course is entirely tarmac, it makes for significant power loss in even the most finely tuned ICE.
Enter the Pikes Peak electric competition. With gear shredding instant torque and no fear of power loss at the upper stages of the track due to thin air, the electric category has seen rapid progress and tumbling climb times. Toyota Motorsport participate in the eerily silent competition with their 470hp TMG EV P002 electric car. In 2013, with Japanese driver Fumio Nutahara in the open cockpit, the Toyota stormed up the hill crossing the line in a mere 10m 15.380s. The TMG EV P002 will be joining the Toyota stand at Goodwood too and show it’s worth at the short 1.16 mile course.
Toyota’s stand will feature much more by way of interesting vehicles and people alike, including current WEC drivers and much more.