TOYOTA Racing begins its first full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Six Hours of Silverstone this weekend aiming to continue its race-winning form from 2012.
So TOYOTA Racing arrives at Silverstone, where it set a new LMP1 lap record last year, with reason to be confident at the start of an eight-race season which concludes in Bahrain on 30 November.
With development of an updated TS030 HYBRID continuing at TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Cologne, the team heads to Silverstone with two cars in 2012 specification. The updated car is planned to make its debut at Spa-Francorchamps next month.
Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre will share the #7 car, with Kazuki Nakajima starting the defence of his Super Formula (formerly Formula Nippon) title at Suzuka this weekend. Anthony Davidson, Stéphane Sarrazin and Sébastien Buemi are reunited in the #8 car for the first time since Le Mans last June.
TOYOTA Racing is once again unique in using super capacitor technology in its hybrid powertrain. This fast charging/discharging technology delivers 300hp of boost under acceleration and was a key factor in last year’s race victories.
Action at Silverstone begins on Friday with two 90-minute practice sessions (12.25-13.55 and 16.26-17.55) before a final one-hour session on Saturday morning (09.00-10.00). Qualifying takes place on Saturday afternoon (12.40-13.00) with the starting position for each car determined by the aggregate of two drivers’ two fastest laps. The race begins at 12.00 on Sunday.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “This is an exciting time for TOYOTA Racing as we get ready to start our first complete season in the WEC. Last year was a great re-introduction for us into the world of endurance racing and we are very proud of the results we achieved.
But of course we want more than this and 2013 will be a real test for us as we challenge for the World Championship against a great competitor like Audi.
Our 2012-specification car proved its strength last year so we are confident we can fight at the front again this weekend. A strong result would be the perfect way to start the season.”
Alex Wurz (#7): “It’s great to get back to racing after some positive tests over the winter. Testing is okay for a driver but nothing compares to the thrill of racing so I’m impatient to get started.
Last season finished on a very high note for TOYOTA Racing, with victory in the final two WEC races, so we want to keep that winning run going at Silverstone.
It will not be easy because we face a very tough competitor, so we have to quickly get back into the rhythm of a race weekend and perform to our maximum.”
Nicolas Lapierre (#7): “It’s really exciting to be part of TOYOTA Racing at the start of a new season, when we come to the first race hoping to start a challenge for the world championship. Last season it was really special to stand on the top step of the podium three times but I’m hungry for more.
We can expect some strong competition from our colleagues in the #8 car and the two Audis so it should be a very exciting race weekend. We had some close races last year so having another TOYOTA in the field will provide a great spectacle for the fans.”
Anthony Davidson (#8): “I can’t wait to be racing again for TOYOTA Racing; it has been far too long! Testing has gone really well and from a personal perspective it has been great to be back in the car after a long break.
It’s going to be special to race in front of my home fans for the first time since 2010. I won this race back then so the target is obviously to repeat that victory and make the best possible start to our season. It will be a difficult race but we have a strong car and we are really fired up for the season.”
Stéphane Sarrazin (#8): “It’s great to be back alongside Anthony and Sébastien in the #8 car. We had a good testing programme during the winter and I feel ready for this first race of the season. The TS030 HYBRID was already an impressive car when I raced it for the first time at Le Mans last year; it has improved since then so I am eager to try it in race conditions.
It’s amazing to think my last race in this car was 10 months ago but I’ve done a lot of racing in other categories so I am sharp and I cannot wait to be fighting at the front again.”
Sébastien Buemi (#8): “Silverstone is a really good opportunity for me to get more experience of endurance racing and I am looking forward to it. I very much enjoyed Le Mans and I’ve been counting down the weeks until I can compete with TOYOTA Racing again.
It has been good to get back into the groove during winter testing and I am absolutely ready for this weekend’s race. I’ve also seen good progress from the team; they have improved in several areas and look really strong for the upcoming season.”