Toyota: Hypercars won't always outpace LMP2s in race trim

The advantage the Hypercars enjoyed over LMP2s in qualifying for the Spa FIA World Endurance Championship opener does not mean they will always be faster on race pace, according to Toyota.

Toyota: Hypercars won't always outpace LMP2s in race trim
Listen to this article

Toyota technical boss Pascal Vasselon explained that the 1.6s margin between Kamui Kobayashi's pole position in the new Toyota GR010 Hybrid and Filipe Albuquerque's quickest time in LMP2 aboard the United Autosports Oreca 07 will disappear at times according to the fuel load and tyres the cars are running during Saturday's Spa 6 Hours.

"To be in front of the LMP2s we needed to be on low fuel; we have seen in free practice, when we are on race fuel load, we are behind," he explained.

"In many circumstances we will see inversion of position and lap times on high fuel, low fuel, new tyres, old tyres.

"With the situation we have at the moment if a Hypercar during the race is on used tyres and an LMP2 is on new tyres, the LMP2 will be faster."

Vasselon reiterated Toyota's position that the two prototype classes "have to be in different ballparks" on performance.

"A gap of 1.6s is good enough to be on pole position and to have a good chance to win the race, but it is definitely not enough of a gap between two categories," he said.

Vasselon suggested that a much bigger gap on outright qualifying pace would be required to avoid the LMP2s getting in among the Hypercars during the races.

"If we want at whatever fuel load a Hypercar is running there never to be inversion, we would need four seconds probably," he said.

Read Also:

The WEC rule makers, the FIA and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, have stated that they will analyse the data from this weekend's race in Belgium before deciding if they have to make an adjustment to what is described as the class stratification.

But ACO president Pierre Fillon has said that there is no intention to slow the LMP2s further.

They have already been hit with a power reduction in two stages, which now totals 50kW or 65bhp, a 20kg increase in minimum weight and the requirement to run low-downforce Le Mans 24 Hours aerodynamics at all WEC races.

The measures have been designed to peg back the LMP2s to ensure they are slower than the Hypercars, which have been conceived to be five seconds a lap slower than their LMP1 predecessors in the name of cost reduction.

The difficulties of increasing the performance of Toyota's new Le Mans Hypercar were re-iterated by Vasselon.

He explained that it would be difficult to increase engine power in the short term, because the GR010's new twin-turbo V6 has been validated to the levels prescribed in the rules and that a weight reduction would involve long lead-time items.

Vasselon also pointed out that the power output for LMH machinery and the minimum weight had both been reduced to bring the cars in line with LMP2-based LMDh machinery that will join them in the WEC from 2023.

"Obvious we could do faster cars, but the Hypercar regulations have been made slower and slower in several steps," he explained.

"One of the steps that has been made recently [in March 2020] is the one that is supposed to allow convergence with LMDh.

"If we were to increase the engine power, which as I have said we could do with a bit of time to make it reliable, then we would not be any more on the rails for convergence."

The WEC Spa 6 Hours starts on Saturday May 1 at 1.30pm CET and will be streamed live on Motorsport.tv.

shares
comments

Related video

Project 1 team withdraws from WEC Spa after crashes
Previous article

Project 1 team withdraws from WEC Spa after crashes

Next article

Deletraz to fill in for van der Zande at Inter Europol

Deletraz to fill in for van der Zande at Inter Europol
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Prime

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Prime

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its FIA World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans Prime

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future Prime

How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Prime

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Motorsport.com hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory Prime

The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory

Peugeot went radical with the initial plan for its Le Mans Hypercar project, and then stuck to its guns. Here’s how things are shaping up a few weeks before the debut of the 9X8 in next month's Monza World Endurance Championship round

WEC
Jun 1, 2022