Toyota bullish on WEC title chances despite Nurburgring defeat

Toyota remains bullish it can fight for this year's FIA World Endurance Championship title, despite trailing LMP1 rival Porsche by 30 points after last weekend's Nurburgring 6 Hours.

Toyota bullish on WEC title chances despite Nurburgring defeat
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley, #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
Sébastien Buemi, Toyota Gazon Racing
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
Listen to this article

Toyota’s #7 TS050 Hybrid took a surprise pole position for the first WEC round since last month’s Le Mans 24 Hours, the first race in which both manufacturers competed with their high-downforce aerokits.

From pole, Kamui Kobayashi made a good start, but in the second hour Jose Maria Lopez had to allow both Porsche 919 Hybrids through.

The #2 car of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber took a second consecutive win after late team orders allowed Bernhard past Andre Lotterer’s leading #1 car.

Having sustained aero damage in the race, #7 Toyota crossed the line in third over a minute behind the Porsche pair, while the #8 car finished five laps down due to a fuel pump issue on the formation lap.

After scoring back-to-back wins at Le Mans and the Nurburgring, the #2 Porsche trio now enjoy a 30-point lead over the #8 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, which collected 12 points with fourth place.

Despite the recent run of results, Toyota’s team director Rob Leupen is upbeat about his team's chances in the remaining five rounds.

“We’re going to try [winning the championship],” Leupen told Motorsport.com. "The fact that we performed better than expected at our hardest race means we'll definitely be in the hunt in Mexico and Austin.” 

"If we can get the #7 car in between the #8 and Porsche and score a 1-2 as we did in Spa, then it’s looking good. We are going to attack the next five races to score victories.”

“Performance better than expected"

Leupen added Toyota has taken heart from its performance at the Nurburgring, which has historically favoured Porsche and been an unfavourable venue for the TS050 Hybrid.

“We can be quite satisfied with the performance of the car,” said Leupen. “This is always a difficult race for us and we got through much better than anticipated.”

Leupen also singled out Porsche’s better tyre management as one of the factors why the Weissach marque had a clear advantage over Toyota.

“The track was too hot for us,” Leupen explained. "We had problems keeping the tyres up to temperature. Double-stinting the tyres was difficult at times. We had a lot of problems with marbles and pick-up. 

“The temperatures were more suited to Porsche, but if you’re depending on the weather then that means you’re not good enough. Porsche deserved their victory.”

shares
comments
Bernhard column: Repeating the success of Le Mans at home
Previous article

Bernhard column: Repeating the success of Le Mans at home

Next article

BMW M8 GTE completes three-day Lausitz test

BMW M8 GTE completes three-day Lausitz test
Load comments
Why F1-snubbed Davidson has no regrets in retirement Prime

Why F1-snubbed Davidson has no regrets in retirement

He may not have won the Le Mans 24 Hours - falling agonisingly short in 2016 - and didn't get the opportunities in Formula 1 his talents merited. But after calling time on his professional career last month, Anthony Davidson says his pride in his performances with Peugeot and Toyota in LMP1 mean more than the results he achieved

WEC
Dec 17, 2021
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Prime

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive FIA World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Motorsport.com recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Prime

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained.

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Prime

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the FIA World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out.

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
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