The start of new era for Toyota Gazoo Racing officially began this morning at Circuit Paul Ricard as its all-new Toyota TS050 HYBRID was unveiled to the world.

The fresh design looked spectacular in the warm spring sunshine as media and paddock observers glimpsed their first look at the striking new machine.

The new model from Toyota sees a revolution in its overall design concept with almost every component changed from the previous TS040.

A proud Pascal Vasselon gave details on the new challenger which features an important departure in powertrain design, as the Toyota TS050 HYBRID features a new V6 turbo engine and an updated transmission to deal with the increased torque generated by the new engine unit.

“Aside from some principles which have been retained to capitalise on previous years’ development, we have changed every single part,” said Vasselon. “In many areas, like the powertrain and the aerodynamics, the concepts themselves have changed. The aerodynamic concept, and particularly the front face of the car, has changed drastically. We have spent thousands of hours refining this new concept and this time we have done more than incremental changes; we have significantly changed the way we handle the flow structure after the front downforce-generating devices. There has been a significant progress rate in WEC recently so we cannot afford to have any area of the package which is not fully optimised. The TS050 HYBRID has been developed on that basis. We want to be competitive. That is the minimum target we set ourselves – to be back in the game and competitive.”

Toshio Sato, President of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, was also present at the unveiling and said:  “This is a very exciting season for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, particularly because we have a completely new car with a new powertrain concept. This reflects the current trend in road cars and gives us more opportunities to transfer know-how and technology into TOYOTA’s road car developments. Our WEC activities are motivated by the development of technology and people; we are already seeing the results of our activities in current road cars.

Toyota also confirmed that they have changed from super capacitor to battery storage to allow the TS050 HYBRID to move up to the more-powerful 8MJ hybrid class.

The two Toyota TS050 cars will be driven by the following drivers. No.5 by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson, and the No.6 by Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi.

There was also further good news for Japanese fans of the WEC as young charger Ryo Hirakawa was announced as the official test and reserve driver for the team.