Rookies get ts040 hybrid test
LMP1 rookies Sam Bird and Alex Lynn were given a chance to drive the TS040 HYBRID and both familiarised themselves with an LMP1 car, performing impressively.
Sam, 28, joined the test directly after winning the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers, which he secured alongside team-mates Julien Canal and Roman Rusinov with class victory yesterday in Bahrain.
Alex, 22, was also in race action in Bahrain this week, having finished eighth and third in the two GP2 Series races.
Over the two sessions, Sam completed 37 laps with a best of 1min 45.318secs while Alex recorded a quickest lap of 1min 46.025secs from his 38 laps.
We caught up with the pair of them to hear their impressions of the TS040 HYBRID.
Sam Bird: "I am very much enjoying working with the TOYOTA team. It is a very professional environment here. My first impressions of the car are very good I am enjoying having some power again and it is a very technical car to drive. There are lots of things to think about, especially as this is the first time I have ever experienced the fuel flow restrictions. Getting my head around this aspect is critical to my improvement and adjustment with these cars. So far I am enjoying it very much."
Alex Lynn: "It has been a pretty cool experience. There are not many drivers in the world who wouldn't want to drive an LMP1 car so thanks to TOYOTA for this opportunity. These cars are fantastic and the TS040 HYBRID feels as amazing as it looks there is a lot of grip and a lot of power. Every lap I am learning more about the balance, the brakes and the hybrid system. I have really enjoyed it it's been special for me to drive this car."
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 17 Le Mans 24 Hours races, achieving a best result of second place on four occasions (1992, 1994, 1999 and 2013). TOYOTA entered the revived WEC in 2012 with its first hybrid LMP1 car, the TS030 HYBRID, which won five of the 14 races it entered over two seasons. It was succeeded in 2014 by the four-wheel-drive TS040 HYBRID, which won its debut race and subsequently the 2014 drivers' and manufacturers' World Championships. They were designed and built by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG), where the race team is based. TMG previously represented TOYOTA in World Rally and Formula 1, and was responsible for the design and operation of TOYOTA's TS020 Le Mans car in 1998-99. TMG now combines motorsport participation with work as a high-performance engineering services provider to third party companies, as well as the TOYOTA family.