Mike Conway column: Gearing up for Le Mans

In his latest column, Mike Conway reviews a difficult World Endurance Championship race at Spa and talks about the excitement of getting ready for the upcoming Le Mans 24 Hours.

The Thursday practice session at Spa was obviously a difficult one for us at Toyota GAZOO Racing when Kazuki (Nakajima) had his accident.

The good news is I saw him at the Monaco Formula E race last weekend and he is up and about and looks good.

I don't whether he will be in the car at Le Mans but we all wish him well in his recovery.

The wet and mixed conditions on the first day of the second WEC race at Spa didn't really give much indication of where we were relative to our opposition. There is only so much you can learn from the car when it is that wet.

Once we got to the dry running stage on the Friday morning it all started quite promisingly for us in the #2 Toyota TS040 HYBRID. But after while the times started to tumble and the Porsches and Audis showed what they had. We worked hard but it was plain that were on the back foot on pace.

Come qualifying we eventually placed sixth which was obviously not where wanted to be, but at least there was still the hope that on race pace, as at Silverstone, we could at least be there or thereabouts and stay in some sort of touch at the front.

As we saw that wasn't to be and the low-drag Audi was impressive in sector two and the Porsches so quick in sector one with their enhanced 'boost'.

Ultimately we raced well and had a pretty clean race. Alex had some good fights with the #9 Audi but we were really just trying to maximise the points we could get because we were unable to get among the top guys on this occasion.

We claimed fifth place without any interruptions. Double stinting the tyres was a bit of an issue for us at Spa. We chose not to go with a lower downforce package and it would have been interesting to see where we might have been had we done so. But its history now and we head to Le Mans with a clean sheet of paper to try and get back and challenge at the front.

Ultimately nobody knows how things will look at Le Mans in terms of pace until we get there. Le Mans might suits us a lot more than Silverstone and Spa, so we will just have to wait and see.

We have a big pre-Le Mans test at Spa next week and we will work through a lot of stuff there on the low drag version of the car.

We just need to be prepared as we can be at Toyota GAZOO Racing and I know that we have the skills and the expertise right across the team to ensure we are in the best position possible.

Le Mans is almost impossible to predict. Look at last year when Audi didn't look too good ahead of the race and came away with a win.

Anything can happen at La Sarthe and it usually does, that's the beauty of one of the world's greatest motor races.

 

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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Mike Conway
Teams Toyota Racing
Article type Special feature