1000 Miles of Sebring: Prologue
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing sets Prologue pace
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is ready to take on an exciting field of Hypercar challengers for its FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) title defence following a productive two-day Prologue test in Florida ahead of Friday’s 2023 season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring.
For the first time, the GR010 HYBRIDs shared the track with new Hypercar rivals from Cadillac, Ferrari, Porsche and Vanwall, as well as last season’s competitors Peugeot and Glickenhaus, to open an exciting new era for endurance racing.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing kicked off preparations at Sebring by setting the Prologue pace with the GR010 HYBRID #7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.
José’s Saturday morning lap of 1min 48.208secs was the fastest of the weekend, while Brendon Hartley was second on the combined results, just 0.008secs behind, in the #8 GR010 HYBRID he shares with Sébastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa.
A combined 587 laps of trouble-free running, covering more than 3,500km, was of much greater importance for this test. It gives engineers crucial data to accelerate set-up development prior to race week, when the challenge to become World Champions for the fifth successive season and win a sixth straight Le Mans 24 Hours begins in earnest.
The 2023-specification GR010 HYBRID, which benefits from a lower weight and revised aerodynamics, was making its first visit to Sebring. Drivers and engineers took full advantage to assess set-ups and tyre behaviour on the unique 6.019km circuit which is famous for its bumpy surface.
Testing began on Saturday in sunny, hot conditions with air temperatures hitting a high of 31°C. José set the fastest time of a morning session interrupted by a single brief red flag while Ryo put the #8 car second.
Lap times were marginally slower in the afternoon session, which featured three red flags. Sébastien recorded the #8 GR010 HYBRID’s quickest lap, ending the session second, just 0.014secs behind the pace-setting Cadillac. José set the best time in the third-placed #7 car.