Toyota shows off latest TF106 14 Feb 2006
Panasonic Toyota revealed the latest version of their TF106 in Vallelunga yesterday, as they prepare to start testing at the Italian track today. They will compete in Bahrain on March 12 with the car in this aerodynamic specification.
The new-look car has a totally new aerodynamic package, which incorporates the latest developments from Toyota Motorsport's 50%-scale Cologne-based wind tunnel.
"It was always our intention to maximise development time in the wind tunnel," explained Technical Director Mike Gascoyne.
"In this way, we have been able to run the mechanical base of the TF106 since the end of November to gather extremely valuable data from the car and the Bridgestone tyres as we concurrently work on honing the most advanced aero package possible for the first three intercontinental races. Reliability has always been a key factor of the first races, but whilst we aim to be 100% reliable, we also want to be 100% competitive. Our approach to the racing season may not enable us to be winter testing champions, but we hope that it will help us to challenge for podiums throughout the season and ultimately Toyota's maiden victory.
"We have looked at every single component to produce what I believe is our most competitive aero package to date. We have a new front wing and rear wing, more sculpted side pods, modified diffuser, restyled engine cover and floor. Everything has been studied, improved, tested and improved again. We have two more tests, one this week in Vallelunga and one next week in Barcelona, during which time we will work to harmonise the TF106 package continuing the encouraging work we have conducted with Bridgestone over the winter."
Gascoyne added that Toyota are very happy with their test programme thus far, and said that time and cost considerations precluded them from joining Ferrari, Honda and Scuderia Toro Rosso at Bahrain.
"We have been testing since the start of the year with an RVX-06 engine in race specification, but we are certainly not resting on our laurels. We are always trying to push back the limits, for example, working on the varying levels of RPM that we can have at our disposal during the race weekend. We are cautiously confident in the reliability of the engine, having confirmed the two race-weekend mileage demands in recent tests. This week's test in Vallelunga will also be important for us to verify the cooling package of the engine with such a substantial aero step, particularly with the two hottest races of the year coming up in Bahrain and Malaysia. Looking further down the line, we already have some evolutions running on the dyno. It is likely that we will follow a similar route to last year, whereby we introduce more regular steps whenever possible, rather than waiting to release fewer, but bigger upgrades in one go."
So far the two TF106s have covered 3,578 laps since the first test on 29 November 2005, up to and including the Jerez test on February 9 2996. That equates to 15,749km, or around 51 Bahrain Grands Prix!