TOYOTA Racing gets Silverstone weekend under way
TOYOTA Racing began its second FIA World Endurance Championship event today with opening practice for the WEC Six Hours of Silverstone in Great Britain.
The team has entered the #7 TS030 HYBRID car for drivers Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima, with all three drivers taking part in today's two practice sessions on the Silverstone grand prix lay-out.
This weekend the TS030 HYBRID has a new aerodynamic package, delivering higher downforce to match the demands of the remaining WEC races.
Nicolas was quickly in action at 11.30am when the first 90-minute session began and he set about fine-tuning the set-up of the TS030 HYBRID for Silverstone. Kazuki then Alex followed, building on the work all three did over the last two weeks on the driving simulator at TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH in Cologne.
Despite rain being forecast, the afternoon session remained dry for all three drivers but TOYOTA Racing's day was cut short by an electrical problem.
Final practice is on Saturday morning (11.00-12.00) before qualifying for LMP1 and LMP2 cars (15.20-15.40). Following Sunday morning warm-up (08.55-09.15) the six-hour race begins at midday with a rolling start.
TS030 HYBRID #7 (Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima)
Free practice 1: 2nd (1min 46.010secs), 38 laps
Free practice 2: 4th (1min 47.084secs), 24 laps
Alex Wurz, Car #7: "We had a productive day and we gained a lot of information from our new aero package. We played around with the race set-up and one of our goals was to optimise the package for the Silverstone track. We still have some work to do on the balance but I am sure that, with the work done today, we will find the best solution. For sure the TS030 HYBRID has more downforce with the new aero package, which is good on a race track like Silverstone."
Nicolas Lapierre, Car #7: "First I had to get my bearings as I hadn't raced here since 2010. Our TS030 HYBRID has never run at Silverstone so we had to make little adjustments but the car was quite good from the start, with a positive aero balance. Of course, it can change with the track temperature so we'll see how that develops. We have to find the best compromise between a good level of downforce and the top speed I think we are going in the right direction. The car is really nice to drive in the fast corners so we can already see the benefit of our new package."
Kazuki Nakajima, Car #7: "It was nice to drive on a dry track because rain is always a threat at Silverstone. I never drove on this layout before today the new part is quite tricky but the old part is still here and I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of traffic and it is not easy to find a clear lap here so it was a learning day, regarding the track, the new package and the tyres. The car looks competitive and we have several good signs. So overall it was a positive first day."
TOYOTA Racing media opportunities at Silverstone:
15.50 Qualifying press conference / 16.10 mixed zone interviews in paddock
18.30 John Litjens (Project Leader Chassis) open media time
18.30 Drivers #7 open media time
18.30 Pascal Vasselon (Technical Director) open media time
About TOYOTA Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship:
TOYOTA first competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship 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 14 Le Mans 24 Hours races, with a total of 38 vehicles taking part. For 2012, TOYOTA returns to endurance racing and the FIA World Endurance Championship as a full-time entrant with a hybrid LMP1 car, the TS030 HYBRID. The chassis 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 (GT-One) 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. www.toyotahybridracing.com