Toyota Gazoo Racing in the mix at Le Mans

The two TS050 Hybrids finally hit the track in anger...

Toyota Gazoo Racing in the mix at Le Mans
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi crash
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and #6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s preparations for the 84th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours began with a busy and constructive first day of action at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Following several days of build-up for the third round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the two TS050 Hybrids finally hit the track in anger, with a four-hour practice session followed by first qualifying.

With the focus on race set-up, the majority of today’s sessions were dedicated to fine-tuning the TS050 Hybrids, which showed its potential by setting Toyota’s fastest lap time at Le Mans since returning in 2012.

That honour went to Stéphane Sarrazin in the #6 car which he shares with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi on his way to provisional third on the grid, one place ahead of the #5 of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

Rain showers throughout afternoon practice allowed testing of all types of Michelin tyre, providing useful information on their behaviour in different track conditions. The team’s main task was aerodynamic and mechanical set-up work.

A productive afternoon was halted early when Stéphane made contact with the barrier late in the session, causing damage to the front bodywork. The pit crew worked hard in the break to have the #6 ready for the beginning of qualifying.

With 60 cars fighting for position on the 13.629km Circuit de la Sarthe, traffic was regularly a factor in qualifying, although conditions stayed dry throughout the two hours.

Just like in the 5 June test day, the TS050 Hybrid showed a significant improvement on 2015, setting a best lap time 2.806secs faster than last year’s best Toyota qualifying lap, despite the 10% reduction in fuel consumption required by regulations.

Qualifying continues on Thursday with another pair of two-hour sessions (19.00 & 22.00). The starting grid is decided by the fastest single lap from any of the qualifying sessions.

TS050 Hybrid #5 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima)

Free practice: 5th (3min 24.031secs), 40 laps
Qualifying 1: 4th (3min 21.903secs), 27 laps

Anthony Davidson: “The car felt pretty strong today. I couldn’t get a clear qualifying lap so the time wasn’t as quick as it could have been. But the focus is on the race; that’s the most important thing. I feel like we have a good balance on both compounds of tyre so I’m happy and optimistic for the race.”

Sébastien Buemi: “That was much better than one year ago on the same day. We were well prepared and we did a good job so I am pleased with how things are going. Hopefully we can still improve the set-up further; we are working hard to get a strong car for the race.”

Kazuki Nakajima: “I think it went well in both sessions. In the daytime session we had a good run and showed decent pace on the long run. In the night it was tough with the traffic so a bit harder to judge. We need to look at all the data and see where we can find improvements but overall I am happy with the car.”

TS050 Hybrid #6 (Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi)

Free practice 1: 4th (3min 23.158secs), 42 laps
Free practice 2: 3rd (3min 20.737secs), 30 laps

Stéphane Sarrazin: “It was an interesting session for us tonight after my mistake in practice. Thanks a lot to the mechanics who did a great job to get the car ready for qualifying. It is a big credit to them that we didn’t lose any time. The car feels good for the race; we still need to fine-tune but we are not far away.”

Mike Conway: “Stéph got a clean lap and it’s nice to be in the top three. The balance is really good and it feels like we have a decent race car. We look okay but we just need to work on the details to be ready. We will work hard to maximise our track time on Thursday and get the best race set-up.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “I am quite happy with how it has gone today. The team has worked really hard to prepare properly for the week and we made good progress. We got a lot of data and this will help us for the race. I did a long run in the night session; there was a lot of traffic but I’m pleased with how it went.”

Free practice results:

1st #2 Porsche (Dumas/Jani/ Lieb) 3min 22.011secs 44 laps
2nd #1 Porsche (Bernhard/Webber/Hartley) +0.539secs 47 laps
3rd #8 Audi (di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis) +0.974secs 37 laps
4th #6 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1.147secs 42 laps
5th #5 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +2.020secs 40 laps
6th #7 Audi (Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer) +3.515secs 38 laps

Qualifying 1 results:

1st #2 Porsche (Dumas/Jani/ Lieb) 3min 19.733 27 laps
2nd #1 Porsche (Bernhard/Webber/Hartley) +0.470secs 25 laps
3rd #6 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1.004secs 30 laps
4th #5 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +2.170secs 27 laps
5th #8 Audi (di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis) +2.733secs 20 laps
6th #7 Audi (Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer) +3.047secs 26 laps

Toyota Gazoo Racing

shares
comments
Webber on Le Mans: "I think about beating the race, not our rivals"

Previous article

Webber on Le Mans: "I think about beating the race, not our rivals"

Next article

Le Mans GTE Pro teams risk in-race penalties for manipulation

Le Mans GTE Pro teams risk in-race penalties for manipulation
Load comments
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021