CHINESE CHALLENGE FOR TOYOTA GAZOO RACING
Toyota Gazoo Racing travel to China this week for the penultimate round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Shanghai.
The team are in positive mood following the one-two finish they achieved at their home race at Japan’s Fuji Speedway in October, their third win in seven races this season.
Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima in the No8 TS050 Hybrid are aiming for back-to-back victories after their triumph last time out, while Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López will be targeting their first victory of the year.
Davidson said: “I always enjoy the challenges of the Shanghai International Circuit. It’s a difficult one to master as the track is pretty challenging, so setting up the car correctly is very important. Hopefully we will get a dry race after the tough conditions at Fuji, but either way I look forward to taking the fight to our competitors once again.”
The race will be one of the team’s last opportunities to go head-to-head with championship rivals Porsche. Team President Hisatake Murata commented: “The whole team is pushing hard for this race. With Porsche leaving LMP1 at the end of the season, there are only two races remaining for us to test ourselves against such a strong competitor. So far in 2017, we have won three races but Porsche has won four; even if it is now very difficult to challenge for the World Championship, our target is to win more races. We also want to give the WEC fans another exciting battle between Toyota and Porsche in Shanghai.”
Both World Championships are mathematically still open, but a 58.5-point deficit to Porsche in the manufacturers’ standings, and a 39-point gap from Buemi and Kobayashi to the leading drivers, means a serious title battle is unlikely.
The team has a strong record (two wins in five races) at the 3.4-mile circuit, a track that will require the Toyotas to run in high-downforce configuration. Free practice sessions on Friday will be followed by qualifying on Saturday afternoon. The race will get under way at 11am local time (3am GMT) on Sunday.