TOYOTA Racing: Le Mans 24 hours update 4
TS030 HYBRID #7 (Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima)
As the 14th hour began, Nicolas took the wheel from Kazuki and faced safety car periods on his second and third stints. Rain began to fall during the latter, making track conditions slippery and leading the #7 to take on wet tyres during Nicolas' third stop. That safety car period lasted an hour, after which Nicolas swapped places twice with the #8 as both cars returned to the lead lap. Track conditions improved and when Nicolas handed the car, and third place, to Alex just before 5am, the team fitted slick tyres. Alex made two stops within two laps due to a slow puncture directly after a refuelling stop, which delayed the #7 by a minute, although he remained in third when he made a routine fourth stop around 8am.
TS030 HYBRID #8 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin)
Just after 1am Stéphane handed the #8 to Anthony, who took advantage of the sixth safety car to switch to new slick tyres on his second pit stop. With rain falling, the #8 changed to intermediate tyres at Anthony's third and final stop of his stint. Quick front bodywork repairs were also carried out on the front right dive plane while Sébastien replaced Anthony in the cockpit. His first stop saw a change back to slick tyres and he resumed the fight at the front, keeping up a strong pace as the sun rose at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Around 7.30am, after three-and-a-half hours and four stints, Sébastien swapped with Stéphane and the #8 resumed in second.
John Litjens, Project Leader Chassis: "On #7 Nicolas and Alex lapped consistently to maintain the gap to Audi #3. On #8 Anthony and Sébastien did a great job to make sure the Audi #2 did not stretch out a bigger gap. The drivers did really well in very challenging circumstances, with changing track conditions and lots of traffic. The rain very early in the morning meant we had to change off the slicks one went on wets the other to intermediates. In the end both worked quite okay and as soon as we had an opportunity to go back to slicks we did. We have seen, as we did in the previous days, that we are more competitive against the Audis in damp conditions so we would be quite happy for some rain later in the race."
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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 returned to endurance racing as a full-time entrant with a hybrid LMP1 car, the TS030 HYBRID. This car won for the first time at the Six Hours of Sao Paulo in September, just its third race and went on to win three of the six races it competed. The 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 (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.
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