TOYOTA UNVIELS TF107
By: Jeremy McMullen
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By: Jeremy McMullen
| Were someone to seek the heartbeat of Formula One it would be to the tune of cylinders beating at over 19,000 rpms, violently propelling the most technologically advanced cars in an amazing display of high pitched resonance and electrifying speed. And it was amidst a chorus of beating drums Toyota kicked off the 2007 calendar. Well and truly the official car launches marks the beginnings of a Formula One season and in Cologne, Germany on January 12th, Toyota got things roaring with its new TF107.
Though the TF107 bears a similar resemblance to the 105 and 106B that came before it, to Toyota, this car represents something entirely 'new'. And, in many ways, 'new' goes beyond whether there are any parts or designs carried over from any previous car. This year's car represents Toyota's renewed heartbeat, its renewed drive for excellence.
The TF107 from General Manager Vasselon's team stands as the team's first chassis design built specifically for the V8 powerplant. Last year's 106B, a virtual copy of the 105 chassis, incorporated a spacer between the chassis and the engine to cope with the shorter V8 while enabling the car to maintain the same wheelbase as the TF105. This kept costs down and meant more emphasis could be spent on the car's overall aero development. And with the switch to the V8, and the subsequent homologation rules now in effect, even more of a team's attention is now directed to aerodynamic packages and other devices meant to claw back lost performance. Though the main lines of the new car obviously shares its inception in the 105 and 106B, Toyota's engineers have done their best to take what was working and combine it with ideas meant to make the car far better. In fact, these aero tweaks demonstrate the team's change from within themselves to improve upon what was a disappointing last season by their standards. And while like everything in life, some of the changes would require the 106B from last season to be placed next to this year's car to really make the differences clear. On top of that, some of the changes would require this year's car to be totally torn apart to be seen at all. However, there are those more apparent.
Among those changes not easily seen is Toyota's effort to make its V8 powerplant cozier under the hood. Also lay hidden is Toyota's new seamless shifting gearbox. Introduced last year, it was widely speculated that this new gearbox would be all the rage come 2007. And given Toyota jumping on the bandwagon when they themselves did not use it last year gives teeth to that speculation. Among the other improvements hidden in the bowels of the car, Toyota's representatives have been especially excited about its improved launch system that, last year, hampered the team. Reliability has also been one of the team's other strongly stressed focal points during this off-season as well since the team had the ability to score better last year but suffered from a fragile car.