Toyota: Glickenhaus's rivals may have no chance in Monza WEC

Toyota believes Glickenhaus’s rivals will have no chance in Sunday’s Monza round of the FIA World Endurance Championship if the American manufacturer can convert its qualifying speed into consistent race pace.

#708 Glickenhaus Racing Glickenhaus 007 LMH of Olivier Pla, Romain Dumas, Pipo Derani

Pascal Vasselon, technical director of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, explained that if the Glickenhaus team has made a step forward in consistency over previous WEC rounds then it will be difficult to beat in the Monza 6 Hours. 

He made the claim after Romain Dumas took pole position on Saturday in the solo Glickenhaus 007 LMH by a margin of nine tenths of a second over the best of the Toyota GR010 Hybrids.

“If they manage to be consistent around this level of pace, we have no chance,” he said. 

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Vasselon stated that he is still expecting the Glickenhaus to suffer a bigger drop-off in performance over the course of a double stint on a set of Michelin tyres as in previous races.  

“It is true that at Spa [in May] their pace did not last a full [double] stint and at the Le Mans 24 Hours we have seen them be very quick - as quick as us - and then dropping a bit of pace,” he said. 

“But now they have a 0.9s buffer; they will probably degrade more than us, but they have quite a big margin.”

Vasselon said he was not surprised by the pace of the Glickenhaus in qualifying. 

He suggested that its margin at the front of the Hypercar field reflected the Balance of Performance change for Monza, which has given the 007 LMH an extra 13kW or 18bhp of engine power. 

“It corresponds to the gap at Spa where it was nearly half a second [when Olivier Pla put the Glickenhaus on pole], plus the BoP on top,” he explained.

Vasselon suggested that all six cars in the Hypercar class - including the two debuting Peugeot 9X8s - could be in the fight if Glickenhaus does not prove to have a significant advantage.

“We could have a six-car fight, all six cars are in the ballpark,” said Vasselon. 

“If Peugeot does not run into problems, they will be in the mix. I don’t think they are just here to drink Italian coffee and eat pasta; no, I am sure there will be a fight.”

#93 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8* of Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne

#93 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8* of Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne

Photo by: Eric Le Galliot

Vasselon pointed out that Peugeot has one advantage over Toyota going into the race at Monza. 

The four-wheel-drive Le Mans Hypercars are running 2023-spec front differentials this weekend. 

The advantages that come with a driven front axle have largely been removed by the requirement to run what is open diff, a rule change made as part of the convergence process to equate the performance of LMHs with the LMDhs that will arrive in the WEC next season. 

“The new rule reduces the locking capability of the differential under braking, so it compromises braking stability and braking power,” Vasselon explained. 

“We have seen on the simulator a performance difference [with the previous diff]; fundamentally we have lost some stability.

“This is one of the elements were Peugeot is probably ahead of us.”

Peugeot has been running an open differential for the majority of the test programme with the 9X8 that started back in January, whereas Toyota had only tried the new set-up once ahead of Monza because it did not want to compromise its Le Mans preparations with the GR010’s original diff.

Toyota and Peugeot agreed to run to the new differential rules from Monza onwards because, said Vasselon, “it makes sense to experiment in 2022 and really make sure it works”.

The #93 Peugeot in which Mikkel Jensen did not register a representative time during qualifying on Saturday will start from the back of the grid for causing a red flag. 

The Danish driver had stopped on track to undertake a reset of the car’s electronic systems after an off on his first lap and a subsequent pitstop for new tyres. 

The Monza 6 Hours, round four of the 2022 WEC, begins at 12:00 local time.

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