19
February
2013
|
04:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Toyota racing drivers look ahead to 2013

TOYOTA Racing launched its revised TS030 HYBRID car for the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship at the Paul Ricard circuit in France today.

Retaining the same drivers means Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima will drive the #7, while Anthony Davidson, Stéphane Sarrazin and Sébastien Buemi compete in the #8.

Prior to the first official test for the 2013-specification TS030 HYBRID, all drivers gave their feelings as the start of the new season, at Silverstone on 14 April, grows near.

Alex Wurz:

How was your first season with TOYOTA Racing?

My first season with TOYOTA Racing was fantastic we exceeded our expectations for our debut year in WEC. But that was only the first step and we must now improve everything to become a clear number one in endurance racing. Last season was very encouraging and showed we absolutely have the potential to win Le Mans and the world championship if we get everything right. But we cannot be over confident we still face a huge challenge and we need to perform at the highest level to achieve our goals.

What are your expectations of the revised TS030 HYBRID?

In the second half of last year we were the fastest car on the grid we know Audi will not stand still so we need to continue pushing and increasing our performance level. I'm really looking forward to racing with the updated car. The guys have worked incredibly hard to fine-tune everything and we can feel a definite improvement. So I am expecting this year's car to be even faster and we need to work hard to get the most out of the package.

What are your expectations for 2013?

I expect a tough battle with Audi but I expect TOYOTA Racing to be extremely competitive. We have a chance to achieve something really significant and we are highly motivated to take that chance. I think it will be an exciting season for the fans it's fantastic to have two manufacturers fighting so closely at such a high performance level and I believe this will help the WEC establish itself as a home of real racing.

Nicolas Lapierre:

After a development season for the team in 2012, what are your thoughts looking ahead to 2013?

It was a big challenge for TOYOTA Racing to be ready in time to race in 2012, as that was not the original plan. But the team stepped up really impressively and maybe we even surprised ourselves at how competitive we were from the beginning. We made a lot of progress and this sets us up well for 2013, when our dream will be to win Le Mans and the WEC.

How big a challenge does TOYOTA Racing face in 2013?

It will not be easy to achieve our targets, we know that. But our car showed great performance last season and the designers have worked hard to find even more speed. So we have a good opportunity and we need to keep pushing through the winter to be ready to win from Silverstone onwards. Audi is a very strong competitor which we cannot under-estimate, therefore we will be giving it everything.

What are you expecting from the 2013-spec TS030 HYBRID?

The TS030 HYBRID was already a really impressive car but as a racing driver you always want more of everything more power, more grip, more speed! To succeed in motorsport you need to constantly develop, which is what we did last year by looking at all details and trying to get the maximum out of the car. From what I have seen so far, the updated car looks like another step forward so I expect to be impressed again.

Kazuki Nakajima:

How much progress did TOYOTA Racing make during 2012?

When I first visited Cologne after the WEC project was announced, only the monocoque had been produced. To go from that point to winning races within less than a year was significant progress. But it was not only the car which developed there is a great team spirit within TOYOTA Racing which has grown and strengthened since we all worked together at the first test in January 2012. This gives us the foundations for a big push in 2013.

How much did you personally develop last season?

Last season was incredible for me. Throughout my career my goal has been to win an FIA world championship race, so to do this in a TOYOTA in front of our home fans at Fuji Speedway was emotional. Competing at Le Mans and experiencing this incredible race was also great, especially as I was following in my father's footsteps. It was a really busy year for me but I was proud to end it by winning the WEC race at Fuji and also winning the Formula Nippon championship.

What are your thoughts about Le Mans and the WEC after your first experiences?

I had an amazing year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of racing at Le Mans and in WEC for the first time. The level is extremely high and the competition is very close, as we saw at Fuji when we won by only 11 seconds after six hours of racing. It's been a new and interesting challenge to drive an LMP1 car for the first time but I've loved every minute of it.

Anthony Davidson:

How is your fitness after your Le Mans accident last season?

I'm in great shape and ready to go my fitness is as good as ever. I worked really hard to stay fit during my recovery so I was always confident of returning to peak condition. It was good to test the TS030 HYBRID again without any issues at all, and competing at the Daytona 24 Hours confirmed I'm back in shape. I must say a big thank you to my physio her support and encouragement have been a huge help.

What are your targets for the coming season?

The big target for me is to win Le Mans for the first time. This year it is a decade since I first raced there so I have a lot of experience and I feel ready to win. When you are racing for a manufacturer team, especially one like TOYOTA Racing that has won WEC races so recently, it's easy to set a target. I'm not here to make up the numbers I am here to win.

How much has the team and car developed since your last race together?

It feels like a long time since Le Mans but I have stayed close with the team and I followed the WEC season so I know how fast the car was. During my simulator work at TMG I tested the updated aero package last year and a few weeks ago I drove the car itself again for the first time since Le Mans. The engineers have certainly been busy! Compared to a year ago, the car and the team have moved on and really benefited from the pressure of racing.

Stéphane Sarrazin:

How do you rate TOYOTA Racing's chances in 2013?

I am confident the car will be competitive and I am determined to win Le Mans. It's a magical race and one that is incredibly difficult to win you can never be confident about the result because so many things can happen. We saw last year with Anthony's accident that what happens is sometimes out of your hands. I am sure we have the car to challenge Audi and we will be going full throttle to win.

How much has the TS030 HYBRID developed over the past year?

Even though I didn't drive the car in the second half of last year, I saw firsthand how much progress the team made. Driving in LMP2 last season put me on the same track at the TS030 HYBRID and this gave me huge motivation to once again get behind the wheel. Finally I drove the car again in January and I immediately felt it has developed quite impressively since Le Mans. We took some positive steps in terms of aerodynamics so I can't wait to race with it in WEC.

What are your personal targets this year?

For me the clear target above everything else is to win Le Mans, no question. I am part of a serious manufacturer team and this gives me a real chance to achieve this lifetime ambition.

Sébastien Buemi:

What did you learn in 2012 as an endurance rookie?

I always wanted to race at Le Mans because it is a massive event and a huge challenge. For a driver it is challenging because you have a big speed difference between the cars, so there's a lot of action. I got used to it pretty quickly and enjoyed myself. The other big difference is racing at night it is very dark around the back of the track and you don't have a lot of visibility. You have to keep your concentration and get into a rhythm.

How does the TOYOTA HYBRID System - Racing feel from a driver's perspective?

It's a fantastic feeling when the hybrid system kicks in and gives you 300hp of extra power. I didn't know what to expect when I drove it for the first time, although my team-mates already told me it was something special. Overall I was impressed by the performance of the TS030 HYBRID it gave the driver confidence and was really fun to drive.

Are you looking forward to racing again in WEC?

I can't wait for the WEC season to start. It was cool to race at Le Mans last year and, with that experience, I feel even stronger and more confident. Unfortunately we didn't reach the chequered flag but that has made me even more determined to succeed this time. The team is really strong as they showed by winning races last year so I think we have a good chance to fight at the front.

Driver Profiles and Career Statistics:

Alex Wurz

Born

15 February 1974, Waidhofen an der Thaya, Austria

Lives

Monaco

Status

Married to Julia, 3 children (Felix, Charlie and Oscar)

Height

1.87m

Weight

79kg

Le Mans Debut

1996

Le Mans Starts

6

Le Mans Best Result

1st (1996 & 2009)

WEC Starts

6

WEC Wins

3

1986

BMX World Championship: 1st

BMX European Championship: 2nd

1989

Austrian Kart Championship: 2nd

1991

European Formula Ford Cup: 2nd

Austrian Formula Ford Championship: 2nd

1992

European Formula Ford Cup: 1st

Austrian Formula Ford Championship: 1st

German Formula Ford Championship: 1st

1993

Austrian Formula 3 Championship: 1st

1994

German Formula 3 Championship: 2nd

1995

German Formula 3 Championship: 6th

1996

Le Mans 24 Hours (Team Joest): 1st

International Touring Car Championship (Opel): 16th

1997

Formula 1 (Benetton): 14th

FIA GT Championship (AMG Mercedes): 10th

1998

Formula 1 (Benetton): 8th

1999

Formula 1 (Benetton): 13th

2000

Formula 1 (Benetton): 15th

2001-05

Formula 1 (McLaren): Third driver

2005

Formula 1 (McLaren): 17th (one race)

2006

Formula 1 (Williams): Third driver

2007

Formula 1 (Williams): 11th

2008

Formula 1 (Honda): Reserve driver

2009

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): 1st

Formula 1 (Brawn GP): Test driver

2010

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): DNF

Sebring 12 Hours (Peugeot): 1st

2011

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): 4th

Petit Le Mans (Peugeot): 1st

Spa 1,000km (Peugeot): 1st

2012

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 3rd

Nicolas Lapierre

Born

2 April 1984, Thonon-Les-Bains (France)

Lives

Bursinel (Switzerland)

Status

Single

Height

170 cm

Weight

69 kg

Le Mans Debut

2007

Le Mans Starts

5

Le Mans Best Result

5th (2009 & 2011)

WEC Starts

6

WEC Wins

3

1993

Began his career in karts

1997

European Kart Championship, CIK Cadet Class: 6th

2000

French Formula Renault

2001

French Formula Renault: 8th (4th in Junior class)

2002

Formula Renault Eurocup (Graff Racing): 3rd

2003

Formula 3 EuroSeries (Signature Plus): 4th

Macau Grand Prix: 1st

2004

Formula 3 EuroSeries (Signature Plus): 3rd

2005

GP2 Series (Arden International): 12th

2006

GP2 Series (Arden International): 9th

A1 Grand Prix (Team France): 1st

2007

GP2 Series (DAMS): 12th (2 wins)

Le Mans 24 Hours (Team ORECA): 9th

2008

Le Mans Series (Team ORECA): 12th

2009

Le Mans Series (Team ORECA): 6th

Le Mans 24 Hours (Team ORECA): 5th

Asian Le Mans Series (Team ORECA): 3rd

2010

Le Mans Series (Team ORECA): 2nd

Le Mans 24 Hours (Team ORECA): DNF

2011

Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (Team ORECA)

Le Mans 24 Hours (Team ORECA): 5th

Sebring 12 Hours (Team ORECA): 1st

2012

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 3rd

Kazuki Nakajima

Born

11 January 1985, Okazaki, Japan

Lives

Tokyo, Japan

Status

Single

Height

1.75m

Weight

62kg

Le Mans Debut

2012

Le Mans Starts

1

Le Mans Best Result

-

WEC Starts

3

WEC Wins

1

1998

Began his career in karts

1999

Suzuka Kart Championship, ICA class: 1st

2003

Esso Formula Toyota: 1st

2004

Japanese Formula 3 Championship (TOM'S): 5th

Macau Grand Prix (TOM'S): 13th

2005

Japanese Formula 3 Championship (TOM'S): 2nd

Macau Grand Prix (TOM'S): 5th

Super GT (apr): 8th

2006

Formula 3 EuroSeries (Manor): 7th

Macau Grand Prix (Manor): DNF

2007

GP2 Series (DAMS): 6th

Formula 1 (Williams): 22nd (one race)

2008

Formula 1 (Williams): 15th

2009

Formula 1 (Williams): 20th

2011

Formula Nippon (TOM'S): 2nd

Super GT (TOM'S): 8th

2012

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 13th

Formula Nippon (TOM'S): 1st

Super GT (TOM'S): 7th

Anthony Davidson

Born

18 April 1979, Hemel Hempstead, Great Britain

Lives

Northamptonshire, Great Britain

Status

Married to Carrie with one son

Height

166cm

Weight

56kg

Le Mans Debut

2003

Le Mans Starts

5

Le Mans Best Result

4th (2011)

WEC Starts

1

WEC Best Result

-

1999

British Formula Ford Winter Series (Haywood Racing): 1st

2000

British Formula Ford (Haywood Racing): 3rd

2001

British Formula 3 Championship (Carlin): 2nd

European Formula 3 Cup (Carlin): 1st

Formula 1 (BAR): Test driver

2002

Formula 1 (BAR): Test driver

Formula 1 (Minardi): N/C (2 races)

2003

Formula 1 (BAR): Test driver

American Le Mans Series (Prodrive Racing): 11th

Le Mans 24 Hours (Prodrive Racing): DNF

2004

Formula 1 (BAR): Test driver

2005

Formula 1 (BAR): Test driver

Formula 1 (BAR): N/C (1 race)

2006

Formula 1 (Honda): Test driver

2007

Formula 1 (Super Aguri): 23rd

2008

Formula 1 (Super Aguri): 22nd

Formula 1 (Honda): Test driver

2009

Formula 1 (Brawn GP): Test driver

Le Mans 24 Hours (Aston Martin Racing): 13th

2010

Le Mans Series (Peugeot Sport): 15th (1 race)

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot Sport): DNF

Sebring 12 Hours (Peugeot Sport): 1st

2011

Formula 1 (Mercedes GP): Test driver

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot Sport): 4th

2012

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF

Stéphane Sarrazin

Born

2 November 1975, Alès, France

Lives

Barjac, France

Status

In relationship with Camille, 2 children (Pablo and Jules)

Height

180cm

Weight

69kg

Le Mans Debut

2001

Le Mans Starts

11

Le Mans Best Result

2nd (2007 & 2009)

WEC Starts

8

WEC Best Result

3rd

1993

French Formula Renault (Sodemo): 5th

1994

French Formula Renault (La Filière): 1st

1995

French Formula 3 Championship (Winfield): 8th

1996

French Formula 3 Championship (Winfield): 9th

1997

French Formula 3 Championship (LD Autosport): 2nd

1998

Formula 1 (Prost GP): Test driver

International Formula 3000 (Apomatox): 6th

1999

Formula 1 (Prost GP): Third driver

Formula 1 (Minardi): 24th (one race)

International Formula 3000 (Gauloises Junior): 4th

2000

Formula 1 (Prost GP): Third driver

International Formula 3000 (McLaren Junior): 4th

2001

Formula 1 (Prost GP): Third driver

International Formula 3000 (Prost Junior): 14th

Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): DNF

2002

Formula 1 (TOYOTA): Test driver

Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): 6th

2003

World Series by Nissan (Racing Engineering): 7th

FIA Sportscar Championship (Pescarolo): 6th

Le Mans 24 Hours (Pescarolo): 8th

2004

French Rally Championship (Subaru): 1st

World Rally Championship (Subaru): 11th

2005

World Rally Championship (Subaru): 17th

Le Mans 24 Hours (Aston Martin): 9th

2006

World Rally Championship (Subaru): 18th

American Le Mans Series (Aston Martin): 2nd

Le Mans 24 Hours (Aston Martin): 10th (2nd in GT1 class)

2007

Le Mans Series (Peugeot): 1st

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): 2nd (pole position)

2008

Le Mans Series (Peugeot): 4th

American Le Mans Series (Peugeot): 7th

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): 5th (pole position)

2009

Petit Le Mans (Peugeot): 1st

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): 2nd (pole position)

2010

Le Mans Series (Peugeot): 1st

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): DNF

Petit Le Mans (Peugeot): 1st

2011

Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (Peugeot): 2nd

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): 3rd

Petit Le Mans (Peugeot): 1st

2012

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF

Sebring 12 Hours (Starworks): 3rd (1st in LMP2)

World Endurance Championship (Starworks): 15th

Sébastien Buemi

Born

31 August 1988, Aigle, Switzerland

Lives

Monaco

Status

Single

Height

1.75m

Weight

68kg

Le Mans Debut

2012

Le Mans Starts

1

Le Mans Best Result

-

WEC Starts

1

WEC Best Result

-

2004

Formula BMW ADAC (Lars Kaufmann Motorsport): 3rd

2005

Formula BMW ADAC (ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg): 2nd (7 wins)

2006

Formula 3 Euro Series (Mücke Motorsport): 12th (1 win)

Formula Renault Northern European Cup (Motopark Academy): 7th (2 wins)

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 (Motopark Academy): 11th (1 win)

2007

A1GP (Team Switzerland): 8th

Formula 3 Euro Series (Mücke Motorsport): 2nd (3 wins)

GP2 Series (ART Grand Prix): 21st

2008

GP2 Asia Series (Team Arden): 2nd (1 win)

GP2 Series (Team Arden): 6th (2 wins)

Formula 1 (Red Bull Racing): Test and reserve driver

2009

Formula 1 (Scuderia Toro Rosso): 16th

2010

Formula 1 (Scuderia Toro Rosso): 16th

2011

Formula 1 (Scuderia Toro Rosso): 15th

2012

Formula 1 (Red Bull Racing): Third driver

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF