TOYOTA Racing stays cool in Bahrain heat
TOYOTA Racing made a solid start to the Six Hours of Bahrain weekend, by setting the second fastest time of the day at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Following their race-winning performance two weeks ago in Brazil, Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre again share the #7 TS030 HYBRID this weekend for the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Their best lap from first practice ended up as the second fastest of the day's running after the team concentrated on longer stints in the evening.
Alex was at the wheel when first practice began at 16.00, giving him a taste of likely conditions when the race starts at the same time on Saturday air temperature of 35°C providing an extra challenge for cars and drivers.
The first hour saw Alex consistently lead the way, before he handed over the TS030 HYBRID to Nicolas for the final 30 minutes as the sun set. Nicolas continued the preparation work and #7 finished the session as fastest.
Night fell between sessions and, with most of the circuit in complete darkness, the TS030 HYBRID's headlights were ablaze when Nicolas left the garage in evening heat of 32°C.
WEC regulations state that every driver must complete at least five laps of practice at night to be allowed to race in such conditions. Alex took over from Nicolas with 20 minutes remaining and comfortably fulfilled that requirement.
Third practice is on Friday (10.50-11.50) before qualifying for LMP1 and LMP2 cars (16.30-16.50). Following warm-up on Saturday (12.25-12.45) the six-hour race begins at 16.00 with a rolling start.
TS030 HYBRID #7 (Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre)
Free practice 1: 1st (1min 47.727secs), 36 laps
Free practice 2: 3rd (1min 48.350secs), 42 laps
Alex Wurz: "The dominant impression of today is that it is pretty hot. The track started out dusty and that causes a few set-up and balance issues which we are trying to filter out in order to optimise the car for the race. This is a tricky circuit because the track conditions evolve so much over an event that is the challenge for the weekend. Even though we won in Brazil, we must remember that here in Bahrain we start from scratch again. We need to prepare the car perfectly again and we all have to be on top of our game."
Nicolas Lapierre: "It has been five years since I drove here and it took a few laps to get back in the rhythm because it's not easy track. There are a lot of big braking zones so you need to find your marker. At night there is not much light around here so it is quite tricky but the traffic is okay because there is a lot of long straight lines. We did a long run in the evening session to see how the tyres react over a long distance on this track. It was quite okay and now we need to analyse the data and think about the strategy for the race I think tyre management will be a key point here."
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. This car won for the first time at the Six Hours of Sao Paulo in Septembre, just its third race. 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
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