Third row in texas for toyota gazoo racing
The #1 TS040 HYBRID of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima had a marginal advantage over its sister car in qualifying and earned fifth place. Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway start sixth in the #2.
Qualifying took place in daylight early in the Texas evening on a hot day which saw air temperatures reaching 33°C. The race itself will begin in daylight but run into the night, with the chequered flag flying at 23.00 local time on Saturday.
Sébastien and Mike, for the first time returning to a track on which he has LMP1 experience, were the first nominated drivers in their respective TS040 HYBRIDs for a session where two drivers from each car take part.
Neither had the chance to begin their first flying lap before the red flags flew due to an LMP2 car stopped at pit exit. That reduced the time available to complete the required laps by a few minutes and made for a very busy track.
With the average of each driver's fastest single lap deciding grid order, it was a battle to find clear air. Both Sébastien and Mike improved on their first flying laps before handing over to Kazuki and Alex respectively.
At that point the #2 was the leading TS040 HYBRID, but the final moments of qualifying saw the two switch positions, with Kazuki earning fifth place and Alex taking sixth.
An average lap time gap of over two seconds to the pole position-winning Porsche #18 suggests a challenging race in the Texas heat tomorrow evening for TOYOTA.
Earlier in the day, a final one-hour practice saw the team complete preparations for the race during a session which was interrupted by a red flag but otherwise ran smoothly and allowed both cars to finalise set-up work.
With the focus on race performance and optimal tyre strategy in the hot conditions, the two TS040s generated further useful information, taking their combined totals over the three practice sessions to 195 laps 1075km.
TS040 HYBRID #1 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima)
Free practice 3: 6th (1min 49.112secs), 26 laps
Qualifying: 5th (1min 48.990secs average)
TS040 HYBRID #2 (Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway)
Free practice 3: 5th (1min 49.221secs), 23 laps
Qualifying: 6th (1min 49.176secs average)
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.