In the space of just over a week, Toyota’s Formula 1 activities have taken it from the legendary wide open banking of Indianapolis to a course just 384 metres long inside ExCeL, the new home of the British International Motor Show.
The vast exhibition hall in London’s Docklands was the arena for the UK’s first indoor F1 trial on Monday, with the Panasonic Toyota Racing TF105 demonstrating its prodigious straight-line acceleration and braking power for BBC Television’s Top Gear programme.
As a high-octane curtain-raiser for Toyota’s contribution to this year’s motor show, the test has no equal. Piloted by "The Stig", the V10-powered TF105 was tweaked to cope with the exceptional conditions, not least the ultra-smooth surface. Slick Bridgestone tyres were fitted, gear ratios were adjusted, brakes were pre-warmed, maximum revs were reduced from around 19,000 to 16,000 and the car’s traction control system was working at full capacity.
Just how the race car performed, compared to Top Gear’s more modest "Reasonably Priced Car", will be revealed in the programme scheduled for transmission at 8.00pm on BBC2 on Sunday, 16 July. The same day, in the real world of Grand Prix competition, Panasonic Toyota Racing will be looking to build on its impressive showing at Indianapolis, where Jarno Trulli claimed an impressive fourth place result, and challenge for a podium finish at the French Grand Prix.
Last weekend, the Toyota TF105 thrilled the crowds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with official test driver Ricardo Zonta at the wheel. The F1 car ran a total of six times on the famous hill climb, with the last run reserved for the customary tyre tread laying ‘burnout’.
TOYOTA TF105 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
Type: Toyota V10
Displacement (cc): 2,998
Max. power (bhp): c900
Max. rpm: c19,000
Transmission: 7-speed unit plus reverse
Construction: Carbon fibre
Suspension: Carbon fibre double wishbones with torsion bar, damper and anti-roll bar, front and rear
Shock absorbers: Sachs/Toyota
Wheels: BBS magnesium