Toyota launched their TF108 at their home base in Cologne on 10 January. The car marks the end of a traditional design approach that Toyota had followed and is a completely different concept: "The aerodynamic concept of this car has changed", said Pascal Vasselon at the launch. "The TF107 was an evolution of the TF106 but this time the new package is a departure from recent Toyotas. The primary aerodynamic design philosophy for the TF108 is geared towards optimising the entire package to minimise balance and downforce changes throughout a lap, thereby producing a more driveable, aerodynamically robust car. In addition to the aerodynamic philosophy, another fundamental change is the wheelbase, which is longer. In mechanical terms we felt we had a strong basis in the TF107’s characteristics so we have focused on making a few refinements. We have made refinements to improve the weight over stiffness ratio with better structural efficiency, so we achieve the same stiffness values with less weight."
The different approach also shows in the car's looks. At the front, the TF108 features a bridge wing that follows the concept introduced by McLaren. The wing attaches to an unchanged nose cone that was introduced back at the Turkish GP in 2007.
At both sides of the hub, Toyota have also clearly put considerable effort in managing airflow around the sidepods. The team has had a history of fitting its cars with a combination of small turning vanes, while the TF108 has full sized barge boards, just like all cars that were ahead of the team in 2007.
Along with the design trends of the sidepods since 2003, the radiator positions have been changed and the sidepods were slimmed down to allow a cleaner airflow towards the rear wing. The shark gills to help cooling were retained while the flipups ahead of the rear wheels have a more temporate look thanks to a simpler design.
Another unexpected change was the move to outboard mirrors, which at the launch were designed to attach to the sidepod panels. By the first race however, the team reverted to its 2007 mirrors, only to replace them again as of the Spanish GP with outboard mirrors similar to Ferrari's design.
Apart from aerodynamic challenges, the team also faced the standard ECU that needed to be fitted into the RVX-08. Contrary to the previously used Magnetti Marelli system, the SECU is identical for every team, requiring the teams to adapt to the system instead of the other way around. Luca Marmorini stated at the car's launch that the cost saving target was certainly not realised by the standard ECU as Toyota spent equal or more resources to fitting the ECU onto the existing compared to developing a completely new engine.
Monocoque: Moulded carbon fibre and honeycomb construction.
RVX-08 Technical Specifications
Cars of 2008
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