Toyota closer but "not close enough" to Porsche - Davidson

Toyota LMP1 driver Anthony Davidson feels the Japanese manufacturer is still not on the same level as reigning WEC champion Porsche, despite having made huge progress in the off-season.

Toyota closer but "not close enough" to Porsche - Davidson
Anthony Davidson, Toyota Racing
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
Anthony Davidson
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
The 2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid with Alexander Wurz, Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb

In the WEC Prologue test at Paul Ricard, the new Toyota TS050 recorded a best lap of 1m38.273s courtesy of Stephane Sarrazin.

That lap placed Toyota ahead of Audi and just eight tenths off Porsche after a 2015 campaign where it was well adrift of the two German manufacturers.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Davidson said: "We’re already closer [to Porsche] than where we were this time last year, but it’s not quite close enough, it feels.

"We can only really go by the laptimes that we see and the odd glimpse that you have of their car on the track, but most of the time, when you see them on the circuit, you are running tyres that are on different life. And it’s easy to jump to conclusions.

"We had consistently the fastest middle sector and that proves that our straightline speed is good and that the way that we get there is good. That’s one area we massively struggled last year. We were losing a second in the straight line last year here and now we’re the ones setting the pace in that sector.

"And it just feels like a much more efficient car than last year’s as well, aerodynamically. So who knows? Maybe we’ll be right there."

Meanwhile, Davidson's #5 TS050 teammate Sebastien Buemi said: "It's the first time we've been able to kind of see where we are.

"Clearly, we know we won't know here whether we're competitive, but we're definitely more competitive than last year."

Porsche in prime position

When talking about Toyota's LMP1 rivals, Davidson concurred that Porsche is likely to be the team to beat.

"Porsche is strong again," he said. "They are the ones with the target on their back. Everybody is trying to hunt them down and be on par with them.

"Porsche's got the experience of their package, of their powertrain. All they’ve done is honed it this year - and there’s a lot to be said for that.

"They were already at the 8MJ category, they’re gonna hone that. They already had the recovery system working properly, that’s going to be refined. It allows them to work on things that are still a problem for, say, us and Audi. It allows them to work on things that they’ve ironed out and we’re still working on.

"So yeah, they’ve made another step going into this year, like you would’ve imagined they would have. It’s up to everyone else to try and catch them and bridge that gap."

Interview by Erwin Jaeggi
Additional reporting by Basile Davoine

shares
comments
SMP's BR01 yet to reach "full potential" - Petrov
Previous article

SMP's BR01 yet to reach "full potential" - Petrov

Next article

A word from... Marcel Fässler

A word from... Marcel Fässler
Load comments
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Prime

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive FIA World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Motorsport.com recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Prime

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained.

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Prime

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the FIA World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out.

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
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