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Monday, January 19, 2009

Toyota unveils TF109 Online, Internet-only unveiling

Toyota adopted a modern and unique method to launch their new car today: the Internet-only unveiling allowed the whole world to see the car at the same time, but as yet no one has seen it for real or up close.

Toyota have taken a shapely approach to their new car: although clearly in its first iteration of bodywork to meet the new rules, the car sports some interesting touches to maximise downforce and reduce drag. The car's chassis design was headed again by Pascal Vasselon, while this is the end of the first full new machine for head of aerodynamics Mark Gillan.

Unlike the interim cars tested before Christmas, Toyota have gone for a slim nose but, unlike Ferrari, they have kept the nose shorter and raised the tip up as far as possible. This shape does provide more space under the nose cone for turning vanes, which is an area outside of the exclusion zones for bodywork. Thus Toyota have fitted a pair of vanes to the rear of the nose cone that lead back under the chassis.

Toyota TF109 detailThe front wing is split abruptly between the FIA-mandated middle section and the downforce-producing outer spans, which feature single element moving flaps. Most noticeable are the shapely endplates without curved leading edges to tease airflow around the front wheels; these are most noticeable when viewed from above. Curiously, the front wheel fairings have their openings pointing forwards rather than backwards as with their 2008 car, while the rear wheels are fitted with Toyota's novel vaned fairings. Leading back. the team have fitted another pair of small bargeboards in front of the sidepod and a simple tall pod wing to its shoulder.

As one of the last teams to adopt undercut sidepods, the new sidepod fronts are exceptionally undercut. They then sweep into a tight coke bottle shape before exiting in a bulbous shape over the gearbox. The only cooling outlets allowed in the engine cover also need to route the exhaust pipes; Toyota have chosen to sink the pipes beneath the engine cover rather than expose them as per the Ferrari.

Also on the engine cover is a small tail spine that smoothes the flow to the new, narrower, rear wing to make more use of the lower beam wing. Toyota have lowered the rear crash structure to reach underneath it, leaving the full span of the beam wing exposed to the airflow.

This year the engines are reduced in revs (18,000rpm from 19,000) and each driver will need to use no more than eight engines throughout the season.

The TF109 will take to the track publicly for the first time next week at the Portimao test.

pic 1: toyota TF109 White Front
pic 2: toyota TF109 White Front

pic 1: toyota TF109 White Top
pic 2: toyota TF109 White Side

pic 1: toyota TF109 White Side
pic 2: toyota TF109 White Side

pic 1: toyota TF109 Black Top
pic 2: toyota TF109 Black Side

pic 1: toyota TF109 Black Front
pic 2: toyota TF109 Black Front

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