- First race of the 2014 World Endurance Championship, TOYOTA Racing finishes first and second place at the Six Hours of Silverstone
- WEC consists of eight races all over the world throughout the year
- TOYOTA vehicles are called TS040, both are four-wheel drive hybrid race cars with 986 hp
- #8 team finishes first with team members Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi
- #7 team finishes second place with team members Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Kazuki Nakajima
TORONTO, ON., (April 20, 2014) – TOYOTA Racing made the perfect start to the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship season with a one-two finish from pole position in the Six Hours of Silverstone.
The 986 hp, four-wheel-drive TS040 HYBRID won its very first race in convincing fashion thanks to the #8 of Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi who take an early lead in the eight-race World Championship.
The #7 of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima completed TOYOTA Racing’s first-ever one-two finish, with a fine second place despite changing weather.
Track conditions varied from completely dry to torrential rain, which ultimately saw the race red flagged less than 30 minutes before the checkered flag.
Alex started from pole and held the advantage during an exciting opening lap which saw Sébastien move from fifth to third.
The TS040 HYBRIDs were at the heart of the action with several position changes before rain came around the 40-minute mark. Both cars pitted for new tires, the #7 taking wets and the #8 hybrid intermediates.
With the rain soon easing, hybrid intermediate tires proved the most effective and Sébastien used his four-wheel drive hybrid system to good effect in building a comfortable lead.
Alex lacked grip on the wets so dropped to third and, after around 90 minutes, handed over the #7 to Kazuki, who switched to slicks for the rapidly-drying track. The #8 did likewise soon after when Nicolas took over from Sébastien.
Conditions remained dry, allowing Nicolas to firmly establish the #8 in the lead, with Kazuki tightening his grip on second in the #7 before swapping with Stéphane soon after the halfway point.
A safety car interrupted the drama briefly, during which time Anthony stepped into the race-leading #8.
Heavy rain hit the track with just over an hour remaining and the team responded by calling both cars in for wet tires, whilst also swapping drivers; Kazuki replacing Stéphane in the #7 and Sébastien swapping with Anthony in the #8.
The safety car was deployed with 40 minutes left before the race was ended early, with further running impossible in the wet conditions. That confirmed TOYOTA Racing’s sixth win from 15 WEC races, its second consecutive victory following its triumph in the 2013 season finale in Bahrain.
The second round of the season comes in just two weeks with the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on May 3rd.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “That was the perfect start to the season and I would like to thank everyone on the team for achieving this one-two victory for TOYOTA Racing. We have worked extremely hard over the winter to prepare the TS040 HYBRID and this is a great reward. We had a big and very enthusiastic crowd here at Silverstone which gave us a nice atmosphere, so I am pleased we could put on a good show for the fans. The weather was a real challenge but the team stayed alert and took the right decisions on strategy. Everyone on the team really earned this result but it is a close fight with Audi and Porsche so we have to continue pushing for the next race at Spa.”
TOYOTA's long-standing commitment to endurance motorsports started as early as 1987 with its first generation Group C race car, the 87C, participating in the 24 hour Le Mans. The early years for TOYOTA Racing won the global brand numerous accolades and solidified views that TOYOTA's advanced powertrain technology defined quality and performance.
Leading up to recent years, the FIA World Endurance Championship has set the stage for TOYOTA to further demonstrate and develop hybrid race cars in combination with a winning team formula.
This season’s WEC rules have made it very challenging for TOYOTA Racing and all other teams by further reducing fuel consumption limits compared to 2013. All hybrid race cars have required higher levels of innovation in fuel economy and power management strategies since the end of the last season.
The critical challenges of balancing fuel consumption with performance gains remain top of mind as TOYOTA continuously strives to improve their competitive advantage on the track and off the track.
Within the broader goals of the TOYOTA Racing team, the pursuit of developing better hybrid technology on the race track will help to speed up improvements for future road cars and bring them to consumers much sooner. It is in TOYOTA’s vision to take technology advancements from the race track and provide consumers with vehicles that invoke a spirited yet ecological driving experience.
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