27
March
2014
|
07:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Toyota racing drivers look forward to 2014

TOYOTA Racing today launched its new TS040 HYBRID car prior to the team's third season of FIA World Endurance Championship competition, with a revised driver line-up.

After two years of the same line-ups in the #7 and #8 cars, the team has slightly reshuffled its driver crews. That means Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima share the #7 car while Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi are in the #8.

They will have an all-new car at their disposal for 2014 following the introduction of the TS040 HYBRID, which features a number of significant changes compared to its predecessor.

A bigger hybrid system now delivers a maximum of 1000PS to all four wheels while the car is, by regulation, narrower and runs on narrower tyres, with advanced aerodynamics optimising air flow. As part of the new regulations, fuel usage is strictly controlled to encourage more efficiency and as a result drivers are required to adapt their driving style.

Ahead of the official car launch at Paul Ricard today, the drivers gave their impressions of the new TS040 HYBRID and their feelings for the upcoming season.

Alex Wurz

What is your opinion on the four-wheel drive system in the TS040 HYBRID?

It is phenomenal, extremely powerful. Four-wheel drive allows us to accelerate better it feels like a rocket ship! But an important reason to go to four-wheel drive was to recover more energy under braking and that works extremely well. Developing a four-wheel drive hybrid car is complex, not only because you have to recover energy front and rear but you also need to control the energy release depending on the speed, the corner and the state of the car. Every detail is important and I enjoy working like this.

From a driver's perspective, what do you think about the new regulations?

To be honest, I don't like these new rules of narrower tyres, less engine power and fuel economy. I know the racing world is moving in this direction for good reasons but as a race driver I would like to keep big tyres and have maximum power. We are in a modern world so we have to go to these developments and saving fuel on each lap becomes a new challenge for a driver.

And you have a new member of the #7 line-up this year too…

Stéphane is actually an old team-mate for me because we have been together in the past and we know each other very well. Some years ago we were leading Le Mans when we had gearbox problems. The team-mate change doesn't have a massive influence but it does change a little bit in terms of the dynamics of the team. We are working well together with Kazuki and Stéphane and all the seven drivers are pulling in the right direction.

Stéphane Sarrazin

What's your first feeling after driving the TS040 HYBRID?

My first impressions are very positive. From the first test the car was immediately competitive and we had no reliability problems. Straightaway I felt comfortable. In terms of pure driving, the new car follows the same philosophy and has fairly similar behaviour as the TS030 HYBRID, although this year the power boost is higher. The TS040 HYBRID feels like really a great car.

What about the new fuel efficiency regulations?

The fuel consumption parameter is very important and during a lap we have to manage this. With the TS030 HYBRID we had also to manage fuel consumption but nothing like what we experience now, with 25% less fuel available. The four-wheel drive system makes a big difference and we must learn to use it properly, that's why each driver spends a lot of time at the wheel during testing.

How does it feel to be part of the #7 crew now?

It's an interesting experience for me to switch to the #7. As drivers we all have very good relationships with each other we are a real team. I drove with Alex in 2008 and 2011 so we know each other very well. Whoever my team-mates are, we're all in the same team. For the team, this change brings together drivers with similar sizes which has advantages for example, I can use Alex's seat. To win races you have to work on even the smallest details. I am convinced that we will have a fantastic season and I 'm looking forward to be at Silverstone.

Kazuki Nakajima

Are you still the busiest driver at TOYOTA Racing?

I think so! As in the past two years, my schedule will be busy and I will have to deal with different programmes. Obviously I have the WEC and I'm excited about the season ahead. But I also have Japanese Super GT and Japanese Super Formula, so I have a lot of races this year. Overall it's a great challenge for a driver to race in three very different categories but by doing it I make myself a better driver and I enjoy it.

What are your impressions of the TS040 HYBRID?

The team has done a great job preparing this car. The development work has been really good and the TS040 HYBRID promises a lot. The new hybrid system is bigger and very impressive. We have to think more about fuel efficiency due to the regulations and this creates its own challenge. We have to drive differently we are chasing a good lap time but at the same time we have to be conscious of fuel consumption.

What are your feelings ahead of the season?

So far the progression with the new car is good and the feeling is positive for the drivers. Hopefully we can fight for the win that is obviously the target and expectation. Le Mans is of course the highlight of the season and it's the big race for all of us. For me it will be my third Le Mans and in Japan we say "the third time is the right time", so I hope this will come true in June.

TS040 HYBRID # 8

Anthony Davidson

How does the TS040 HYBRID feel from a driver's perspective?

The new car feels slightly different from last year's. The driving position is different and we have a lot more visibility, so that makes life a little bit easier. Other characteristics have changed slightly as well. The tyres are narrower than last year and the car is 100mm narrower so the car moves around slightly more and we have less downforce than last season. In fact we also have less mechanical grip due to the tyres but we also have less drag, so the car goes faster in a straight line.

What impressed you most about the TS040 HYBRID?

When I first saw the car, I was most impressed with the level of detail. The aerodynamics are very advanced and you can immediately see how much effort the team has put into this when you look at the car. From the driving seat, the most impressive aspect is the four-wheel drive hybrid the traction and the power really feel good when you come out of a corner.

What do you expect for the 2014 season?

It's hard to know where our competition will be performance-wise. We are waiting to face them on track but you have to expect Audi will have done a good job and will probably be the one to beat despite Porsche's heritage in this category. The target is clear for us: winning races and of course Le Mans, which remains the main goal and the race I want to win. We just have to make the final step forward after our 2013 result.

Nicolas Lapierre

How do you see the 2014 season?

This year is a new challenge for many reasons. Firstly because of the new rules which changed a lot in terms of our approach. The car is different from last year and the fuel consumption became our main concern so this is what we are focused on. Having the hybrid technology on the front axle makes the car very different and we have to learn again how to get the best out of it.

You are part of the #8 crew now as well…

That's the second big change for me. Even if I know Anthony and Sébastien very well as people, we have to learn the strengths and the weaknesses of each other. I've known Séb for a long time and Anthony since I am with TOYOTA Racing. There are both super drivers and I'm very pleased to be their crew, but I was also very pleased to be with Alex and Kazuki! I think we have good combinations of drivers and cars.

What about your feelings about the TS040 HYBRID?

So far the car is very impressive. The front hybrid motor is a positive point because it adds a lot in terms of power and traction, but throughout testing we have had impressive reliability as well, which is a good sign. Even though we started testing in January, a few months after our rivals, the development has paid off from the beginning we have been doing long runs without issue. So the car looks ready and so does the team. There is a kind of serenity in the team and I am quite confident.

Sébastien Buemi

How are you feeling ahead of the new season?

I feel good and look forward to be on track for the first race. We did a lot of kilometres since the first test and the car feels good with the new regulations. Last year was my first full season in endurance and it was a great opportunity. In terms of performance we wanted to achieve more in 2013 but we learned a lot as a team and I learned a lot personally. I really believe in this year I believe we can bounce back and achieve what we are here for.

What are the challenges of the new regulations?

The main changes concern the fuel consumption and we have to focus on that a lot more than in previous years. It's a compromise between being the fastest and taking care of the fuel consumption, and that is true as well with the four-wheel drive system we have to find the right balance. The car and the tyres are narrower and that makes a difference in terms of reduced drag and reduced grip but the team did a good job and the package seems competitive.

What are your expectations for the season?

We are quite confident we have a good car but the important thing is to see where we are compared to the others. We have been alone for our tests so far, with no point of comparison. We'll only find out for sure when the racing starts. When that happens, we will be targeting victories, particularly at Le Mans.

Mike Conway (Test and Reserve Driver)

What are your feelings on joining TOYOTA Racing?

I'm very happy to be part of the TOYOTA family and to be involved in the endurance programme. I'm very excited and can't wait to get in the car at every test session. The season will be pretty busy for me between sports cars with the TOYOTA Racing programme where I have to be available at every race and IndyCar in the US, but I like this.

How is it to drive the TS040 HYBRID?

It's a great experience with a great car even if I still have a lot of things to learn about endurance in an LMP1. The way we have to save the fuel, how to deal with the boosts, how to best manage a stint, I'm still learning every time. This experience in LMP1 is beyond my expectations in terms of driving and I enjoy sharing with the other drivers.

What were your impressions when you first visited the team base at TMG?

It is hugely impressive. I expected it to be very good, bearing in mind its F1 heritage, but it exceeded my expectations. There's no stone unturned there. It has technology focused on performance and endurance, exactly tailored to the task in hand. From design, through mock-up to build, test, development and race, all under one roof it's a very cool place. That's not just about the car as a whole but each individual component too, they have the capability to build, test and simulate them and to have the confidence that when it goes on the car it is fully tested already.

Driver Profiles and Career Statistics:

Alex Wurz (#7 TS040 HYBRID)

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

7

Le Mans best result

1st (1996 & 2009)

WEC starts

12

WEC wins

4

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 (3 wins)

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 (1 win)

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

Le Mans Series / Inter. Le Mans Cup (Peugeot): 2 wins

Petit Le Mans (Peugeot): 1st

2012

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 3rd (3 wins)

2013

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): 4th

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 4th (1 win)

Stéphane Sarrazin (#7 TS040 HYBRID)

Born

2 November 1975, Alès, France

Lives

Barjac, France

Status

Married to Camille, 2 children (Pablo and Jules)

Height

180cm

Weight

69kg

Le Mans debut

2001

Le Mans starts

12

Le Mans best result

2nd (2007, 2009 & 2013)

WEC starts

16

WEC wins

1

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 (1 win)

1999

Formula 1 (Prost GP): Third driver

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

International Formula 3000 (Gauloises Junior): 4th (1 win)

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 (3 wins)

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

2008

Le Mans Series (Peugeot): 4th (2 wins)

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 (1 win)

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): DNF

Petit Le Mans (Peugeot): 1st

2011

Le Mans Series / Inter. Le Mans Cup (Peugeot): 1 win

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

2013

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): 2nd

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 3rd (1 win)

Kazuki Nakajima (#7 TS040 HYBRID)

Born

11 January 1985, Okazaki, Japan

Lives

Tokyo, Japan

Status

Single

Height

1.75m

Weight

62kg

Le Mans debut

2012

Le Mans starts

2

Le Mans best result

4th (2013)

WEC starts

7

WEC wins

2

1998

Began his career in karts

1999

Suzuka Kart Championship, ICA class: 1st

2003

Esso Formula Toyota: 1st (3 wins)

2004

Japanese Formula 3 Championship (TOM'S): 5th (2 wins)

Macau Grand Prix (TOM'S): 13th

2005

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

Macau Grand Prix (TOM'S): 5th

Super GT (apr): 8th (1 win)

2006

Formula 3 EuroSeries (Manor): 7th (1 win)

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 (1 win)

Super GT (TOM'S): 8th

2012

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 13th (1 win)

Formula Nippon (TOM'S): 1st (2 wins)

Super GT (TOM'S): 7th

2013

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): 4th

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 12th (1 win)

Super Formula (TOM'S): 4th (2 wins)

Super GT (TOM'S): 3rd (2 wins)

Anthony Davidson (#8 TS040 HYBRID)

Born

18 April 1979, Hemel Hempstead, Great Britain

Lives

Northamptonshire, Great Britain

Status

Married to Carrie with two children

Height

166cm

Weight

56kg

Le Mans debut

2003

Le Mans starts

6

Le Mans best result

2nd (2013)

WEC starts

9

WEC wins

1

1999

British Formula Ford Winter Series (Haywood Racing): 1st (5 wins)

2000

British Formula Ford (Haywood Racing): 3rd (2 wins)

2001

British Formula 3 Championship (Carlin): 2nd (6 wins)

European Formula 3 Cup (Carlin): 1st (2 wins)

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): 15th (1 race)

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): DNF

Sebring 12 Hours (Peugeot): 1st

2011

Formula 1 (Mercedes GP): Test driver

Le Mans Series / Inter. Le Mans Cup (Peugeot): 3 wins

Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): 4th

2012

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF

2013

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): 2nd

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 3rd (1 win)

Nicolas Lapierre (#8 TS040 HYBRID)

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

6

Le Mans best result

4th (2013)

WEC starts

12

WEC wins

4

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 (3 wins)

2005

GP2 Series (Arden International): 12th

2006

GP2 Series (Arden International): 9th

A1 Grand Prix (Team France): 1st (6 wins)

2007

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

Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): 9th

2008

Le Mans Series (ORECA): 12th

2009

Le Mans Series (ORECA): 6th (1 win)

Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): 5th

Asian Le Mans Series (ORECA): 3rd

2010

Le Mans Series (Team ORECA): 2nd (1 win)

Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): DNF

2011

Le Mans Series / Inter. Le Mans Cup (ORECA): 1 win

Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): 5th

Sebring 12 Hours (ORECA): 1st

2012

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 3rd (3 wins)

2013

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): 4th

World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 4th (1 win)

Sébastien Buemi (#8 TS040 HYBRID)

Born

31 August 1988, Aigle, Switzerland

Lives

Monaco

Status

Single

Height

1.75m

Weight

68kg

Le Mans debut

2012

Le Mans starts

2

Le Mans best result

2nd (2013)

WEC starts

9

WEC wins

1

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)