Toyota Racing TS030 Hybrids Make Successful Le Mans Debut
TOYOTA Racing’s TS030 Hybrid cars moved one step closer to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after successfully participating in the traditional test day around the Circuit de la Sarthe.
For the first time, TOYOTA Racing had two cars in action, having completed all testing so far with only the #7 car. A brief shakedown for the #8 car on Friday capped a huge effort from the team at Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) to complete the car in time for the test.
Both TS030 HYBRIDs, displaying their new TOYOTA hybrid-blue livery, were in action immediately when the lights went green at 9am, beginning another new chapter for the team with its first multi-car test.
The complete driver line-up for car #7 of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima took part in the test while the #8 featured Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi.
It was decided that Stéphane Sarrazin should miss today’s activities to give him additional time to recover from cuts and bruises sustained in a cycling accident. Stéphane will return to driving duties for TOYOTA Racing for the Le Mans race week.
One priority for today’s test was for Le Mans newcomers Kazuki and Sébastien to complete the mandatory 10 laps required to allow participation in the race. This was comfortably achieved in the morning.
Toyota last competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours as a manufacturer in the late 1990s racing the GT-One, a car which famously established a new race lap record in 1999.
“Today was a significant step for us because it was our first chance to see the car on track against our opposition at Le Mans. It’s hard to judge lap times but it certainly strengthens our racing spirit. Overall we are satisfied to complete a full day’s running with both cars without any significant issue; the only interruptions came with some minor bodywork damage. Unfortunately we only had five drivers with us following Stéphane’s accident. But he’s an experienced driver so we have no concerns; he’ll be on top form for the race I’m sure,” said Team President Yoshiaki Kinoshita.
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