SILVERSTONE DATE FOR LE MANS WINNERS TOYOTA GAZOO RACING
Toyota Gazoo Racing resume their World Endurance Championship campaign with the 6 Hours of Silverstone this weekend, their first outing since winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
The No8 car that was driven to the historic victory by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso has been retired from competition because of its special status in Toyota’s motorsport history and has been preserved in its end-of-race condition. Toyota President Akio Toyoda recently viewed the car when he travelled to Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Cologne base to personally congratulate team members.
Inspired by the reaction to their Le Mans success, the team are targeting another positive weekend at Silverstone and looking to maintain their 100 per cent record this season with another one-two finish from pole position and a sixth consecutive WEC win.
British driver Mike Conway is keen for success at his home race in the calendar: “I can’t wait to get back racing. It was a nice break after Le Mans but I’m ready to go now. It’s a bit different racing at home because I have some friends and family coming to watch me race which is nice as there are not many chances for them. Also the fans at Silverstone are great so it’s a good atmosphere. The target for Silverstone is of course another one-two victory, and I hope the No7 will be on top. Competition will be tougher but hopefully we still have an edge,” he said.
Conway will feature in the familiar No7 car line-up alongside Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.
Toyota has finished on the podium at Silverstone every year since returning to the championship in 2012, including two victories. The team will have to re-learn some aspects of the circuit, which has been completely resurfaced since the 2017 race.
The weekend will see the first appearance this season of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid in its high-downforce specification, which delivers more grip in corners at the expense of top speed on the straights. The configuration is better suited to the demands of the UK circuit with its sweeping, high-speed corners.
The challenge from the six non-hybrid LMP1 class cars will be stronger, following updates to equivalency regulations designed to give them stronger performance. The non-hybrid cars will benefit from increased fuel flow, now 43.75 per cent more than the Toyotas. Some will also benefit from reduction in minimum weight requirements.
The Silverstone programme begins with free practice sessions this Friday, followed by qualifying on Saturday. The race will get under way at noon on Sunday.