TOYOTA Racing Makes Successful Le Mans Debut

TOYOTA Racing’s pair of TS030 HYBRID cars achieved another milestone today by successfully participating in the traditional test day to prepare for the Le Mans 24 Hours on 16-17 June.

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.

Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “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.”

Hisatake Murata, Hybrid Project Leader: “To see the TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing on track at Le Mans is a day we have been anticipating for a long time. We are continuously adjusting and improving the system, so each test day brings a step forward and that was true again today. The combination of downshifting, braking and charging is really working in harmony; it’s like an elaborate dance. I would like to express my thanks to all the guys at Cologne and Higashifuji who have worked so hard to prepare for this. From a personal point of view, today really brought back memories of my last time working as part of a TOYOTA team here. I was engine engineer for the #33 TS010 back in 1992 when we finished in second place, so after a 20-year break it’s great to be back.”