Rain-hit practice for Toyota Racing in Texas
TOYOTA Racing got official practice underway at a very wet Circuit of the Americas ahead of the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Dark clouds and heavy rain showers in Austin, Texas greeted the #8 crew of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin for the start of official practice.
That was in stark contrast to the conditions yesterday during the collective test sessions, arranged to give competitors experience of a circuit which is new to the WEC.
Due to the weather, TOYOTA Racing only completed 46 laps during today's three hours of practice
Heavy rain throughout the morning made track conditions extremely tricky for first practice but the team nevertheless attempted to use the track time in the most effective way.
All three drivers had stints behind the wheel, giving them the chance to assess the characteristics of the circuit in wet conditions whilst also evaluating the rain tyre options.
The afternoon practice was marred by a torrential downpour 25 minutes in which effectively ended the session after Anthony had completed 10 laps, with track conditions too bad to allow any further running.
TS030 HYBRID #8 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin)
Free practice 1: 3rd (2mins 06.466secs), 36 laps
Free practice 2: 1st (2mins 00.756secs), 10 laps
Anthony Davidson: "It was a pity with the weather but we knew it was going to be like this as we saw it on the radar. It gave us a chance to drive in the wet before qualifying and the car felt okay in the rain. We still haven't got a perfect balance but we were able to run the intermediate tyres early in the afternoon session and the car felt really good. Tomorrow is another day and we will see what the weather does."
Sébastien Buemi: "I ran only five laps today and this morning was in semi-wet track conditions. I had a good impression yesterday so I'm quite confident to have a good race. Obviously, if you take the lap in the wet with Anthony it seems we have improved quite a lot but it's impossible to compare in those conditions. Before Sunday's long race we will see what will happen tomorrow in qualifying."
Stéphane Sarrazin: "We did not drive a lot this afternoon but the session this morning allowed us to work on a wet track and we found a good set-up in such conditions. The car felt good and I think we could be competitive. For tomorrow's qualifying, we will see what the weather will be but I feel quite confident for the next two days."
After Saturday's final practice (08.40-09.40), 25 minutes of qualifying takes place at 13.35. The race begins at 11.00 on Sunday.
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About TOYOTA Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship:
TOYOTA first competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 1983, marking the start of a long period of participation in endurance racing which included several editions of the Le Mans 24 Hours. TOYOTA cars have raced in 15 Le Mans 24 Hours races, achieving a best result of second place on four occasions (1992, 1994, 1999 & 2013). TOYOTA entered the revived WEC in 2012, as TOYOTA Racing, with its first hybrid LMP1 car, the TS030 HYBRID. After making its debut at Le Mans, the car went on to win three races from pole position in its first season. The TS030 HYBRID chassis, modified for 2013, has been designed and built by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG), where the race team is based. TMG is the former home of TOYOTA's World Rally and Formula 1 works teams, and was responsible for design and operation of TOYOTA's TS020 Le Mans car in 1998-99. TMG now combines works motorsport participation with a new direction as a high-performance engineering services provider to third party companies, as well as the TOYOTA family.
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