Losing Toyota powerless to overcome handicap

The drivers of the second-placed Toyota in Sunday's Fuji round of the FIA World Endurance Championship say they were powerless to overcome their handicap against the winning sister entry.

Losing Toyota powerless to overcome handicap

Kobayashi and his teammates in the #7 TS050 Hybrid, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway, ended up 33.9 seconds down on the race-winning #8 Toyota at Fuji, hobbled by their theoretical success handicap of 0.4s a lap after their Silverstone triumph.

The gap between the Toyotas had been as large as 50 seconds before the #8 car picked up a drive-through penalty for pitlane speeding.

Kobayashi admitted after opening practice on Friday that he felt "demotivated" because he knew he had no chance of winning, but after the race said he was satisfied to have finished closer to the #8 car than team simulations had forecast.

"I don’t feel [we had any chance] at all," Kobayashi told Motorsport.com. "But I feel we managed well.

"The calculations said in theory [we would be] 90 seconds slower than car #8. We finished 33 seconds [behind], so we did a good job. Unfortunately this is the handicap in the end.

"I think in future we know as soon as we have a gap in the points [between the cars], if we do a mistake in the race or we are not scoring points, the next couple of races we’ll be very quick. We’ll know the result [beforehand]."

Read Also:

Asked if he felt the current system was bad for the fans, the Japanese driver replied: "Yeah. It’s hard for them to know how much [of the gap] actually is the handicap.

"I would say it’s so hard to calculate how much the handicap is really. The team calculates as much as possible but in the end the calculation was not accurate. We can say sometimes maybe we see four tenths, sometimes six tenths, we don’t know what it is in the end."

Lopez echoed Kobayashi's sentiments, and admitted that while "the motivation changes" as a result of the handicap system, he is looking forward to a fairer fight next month at Shanghai now both Toyotas are level on points - and will therefore have the same penalty.

"I think overall the performance was good, sometimes we were quicker than car #8," said Lopez. "Considering the handicap, arriving 30 seconds [behind] was a good result for us.

"When we put on the helmet we try to adapt and take the maximum out of the car. That’s our job, no matter what the penalty is or the regulations. You have to try.

"Now we come back again in Shanghai, we’ll be the same. If they are better in Shanghai we’ll be better in the [following] race. The system is designed for that, you’ll never be able to pull away in the points because another car will always be quicker.

"The important thing is to not have a DNF, keep scoring points, and get to Le Mans, which I think the race that will make the difference."

shares
comments
Fuji WEC: Buemi, Hartley, Nakajima cruise to victory

Previous article

Fuji WEC: Buemi, Hartley, Nakajima cruise to victory

Next article

JOTA Sport stripped of Fuji LMP2 podium

JOTA Sport stripped of Fuji LMP2 podium
Load comments

About this article

Series WEC
Event Fuji
Drivers Kamui Kobayashi , Jose Maria Lopez
Author Jamie Klein
How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy Prime

How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy

Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger Prime

The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger

Toyota's new GR010 contender for the World Endurance Championship's Hypercar era has little in common with the LMP1 TS050 that preceded it. But within the confines of the scaled back new rules, its latest challenger will be no less formidable a prospect

WEC
Jan 22, 2021
The tiny increments that decided the final LMP1-era WEC Prime

The tiny increments that decided the final LMP1-era WEC

The system of success handicaps devised by the FIA World Endurance Championship to level the LMP1 playing field in the category's swansong season ended up having a counterproductive effect, as COVID cancellations also played in the champions' favour.

WEC
Dec 5, 2020
Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars Prime

Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars

OPINION: The news that Audi will return to Le Mans means we'll at last get to see the fight promised in 2012 against Peugeot and Toyota. It also gives LMDh a tangible form, which could open the floodgates for more like-minded marques to follow suit…

WEC
Dec 1, 2020
The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season Prime

The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season

It may have been missed amid the clamour over Lewis Hamilton's seventh F1 title, but Britain had another world champion crowned last weekend. Mike Conway's WEC crown raises an old conundrum - does title glory make up for the pain of Le Mans defeat?

WEC
Nov 19, 2020
The 10 greatest LMP1 races ranked Prime

The 10 greatest LMP1 races ranked

As the LMP1 class prepares to bow out of top-line sportscar racing at the World Endurance Championship season finale in Bahrain this weekend, Motorsport.com looks back over the past two decades to pick out the 10 of its best contests

Endurance
Nov 9, 2020