Busy Bahrain test for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing completed a busy and interesting test session at the Bahrain International Circuit as the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season officially concluded.
Following its victory in the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday, its fifth of the season, the team returned to the Bahrain International Circuit to participate in the annual WEC rookie test.
Regular TS050 HYBRID drivers Mike Conway and Sébastien Buemi were joined at the test by two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso and rising endurance star Thomas Laurent.
The rookie test represented the perfect opportunity for Fernando, who is interested by Le Mans as well as endurance racing in general, to drive a state-of-the-art hybrid LMP1 car. He completed a total of 113 laps in the #8 TS050 HYBRID, a total of 611km.
Thomas, 19, joined the test as a reward for his impressive performances in LMP2 this season, which included a second-place finish at the Le Mans 24 Hours. He completed 31 laps in the#7 TS050 HYBRID in the morning session.
Sébastien’s driving today was limited to a 10-lap run in the morning but Mike had a busy afternoon session, taking advantage of the hot conditions to complete various tyre tests, completing 64 laps.
Fernando Alonso: “It was a great day. Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing. I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.”
Thomas Laurent: “I really enjoyed it today. It was my first time in an LMP1 car and it is the best car I have driven in my career. The downforce, the hybrid boost, the braking; it was all very impressive. I would love to drive a car like this again. Big thanks to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. The team welcomed me really well. All the mechanics, engineers and management were very friendly, which I really appreciate.”
About TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in the World Endurance Championship:
TOYOTA first competed in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 1983, marking the start of a long period of participation in endurance racing. Since 1985, TOYOTA cars have raced in 19 Le Mans 24 Hours races, achieving a best result of second place on five occasions. TOYOTA entered the revived WEC in 2012, combining the expertise from TOYOTA Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre, where the hybrid powertrain is developed, with TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH’s support and facilities for chassis development. The multi-national team includes engineers from TOYOTA’s motorsport and hybrid department, who deliver technology and know-how back into road car development. Since 2012, TOYOTA has earned 14 pole positions and won 16 races, finishing on the podium a total of 41 times. In 2014, the team won the drivers’ and manufacturers’ World Championships with the TS040 HYBRID while a year later TOYOTA celebrated 30 years since its first Le Mans entry.