Toyota hid true pace at Silverstone, says Menezes

Toyota concealed its true race pace during practice for last weekend's Silverstone FIA World Endurance Championship opener, believes Rebellion Racing's Gustavo Menezes.

Toyota hid true pace at Silverstone, says Menezes

The American driver made the claim after Toyota claimed yet another dominant 1-2 finish at the British track on Sunday, a lap clear of the best of the privateer LMP1s, the #3 Rebellion R-13 shared by Loic Duval, Pipo Derani and Nathanael Berthon.

Menezes, along with Norman Nato and Bruno Senna, finished 10th overall and fifth among the LMP1s after a pitlane incident for Nato and a late power steering issue dropped the #1 Rebellion six laps down.

Read Also:

Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon declared after qualifying that Rebellion had demonstrated enough speed to threaten the TS050 Hybrids, but the race proved that the Japanese manufacturer hadn't shown what it was really capable of, according to Menezes.

"It was very clear they still have more pace than us," Menezes told Motorsport.com. "We have to continue to work on our own pace and our problems, to eliminate those, but we also could see that Toyota was further ahead than they looked all weekend by a large margin.

"Considering their race pace in practice was in the [1m]39s and [in the race] they ran low 37s, it’s pretty clear they had more in the tank. And they are very good at playing those games.

"But the system does catch up and I think we’ll see it come into play later in the championship."

Asked if challenging Toyota on its home turf in Fuji was realistic with the help of success handicaps, Menezes replied: "In my personal opinion, it will take another race.

"Japan is Toyota’s home race and they’re gonna do everything they can to win that. Also, I think Fuji suits their car more than ours, our car definitely does well in high-speed corners and not so much in low-speed acceleration zones, so I think they’ll have us there.

"I’m more optimistic for Shanghai but it doesn’t mean we won’t give it everything at Fuji."

Derani said finishing one lap behind the Toyotas after four hours of racing was in line with Rebellion's expectations pre-race.

"Unfortunately there’s just too much of a difference [with Toyota] - a little bit less so in qualifying when we have new tyres that compensate, but in the stint, and in traffic, it’s really difficult to fight with them as expected," said the Brazilian.

"We had a 40s stop-and-go, but without that, there were a couple of safety cars, so [one lap down] is more or less where we should have finished anyway."

Drivers from both of the Toyota crews expressed their surprise that Rebellion didn't put up a better fight in the race after its comparatively strong showing in practice.

Brendon Hartley, who finished second alongside Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi in the #8 Toyota, told Motorsport.com: "Definitely the gap at the end of the race was a surprise, but it’s not completely fair because of the penalties, maybe a few mistakes.

"In free practice they looked a lot closer, so I don’t know if they were a bit hard on the tyres. But I think they didn’t get everything together today."

Mike Conway, one of the drivers of the winning #7 Toyota, added: "In FP1 and FP2 [Rebellion] looked really strong in terms of their averages. Maybe the track came more towards us than it did to them, I don’t know.

"We were strong in the beginning, laptimes were a bit more thought than I thought, and our averages were very good. Once we get [the EoT] more on their side, it will be an even better fight. I hope it’s a bit closer [in Fuji] than it was today."

#3 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-13 - Gibson: Nathanael Berthon, Pipo Derani, Loic Duval

#3 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-13 - Gibson: Nathanael Berthon, Pipo Derani, Loic Duval

Photo by: JEP / LAT Images

shares
comments
Ferrari pair denied win chance by erroneous penalty

Previous article

Ferrari pair denied win chance by erroneous penalty

Next article

Lapierre hails "special" win on new team's debut

Lapierre hails "special" win on new team's debut
Load comments
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
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021
Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Prime

Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.

WEC
Aug 14, 2021
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021