The latest round of the 2015 World Endurance Championship proved a tough challenge for Toyota Gazoo Racing, but the team came away from the Circuit of the Americas in Texas on Sunday morning with its best result so far this year – fourth place for the No1 Toyota TS040 of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.
There was no joy for the second Toyota, however, which was sidelined from the action mid-way through the six-hour race.
The start took place in 33-degree sunshine, conditions which called for a driver and tyre change at every pit stop. Initially the Toyotas ran fifth and sixth, maintaining their grid starting positions. At around one-third distance, Davidson was unable to enter the pit lane as planned and had to complete a very slow lap to avoid running out of fuel, dropping the No1 car to sixth. Shortly afterwards, Mike Conway suffered a spin in the No2 car, but was able to rejoin without losing fifth position.
Worse luck awaited Conway at the half-distance mark, when he lost control lapping slowing cars and hit a wall. He was unhurt, but the car had to be retired from the race.
Although the No1 car had to take a stop-go penalty, Nakajima was able to bring it home safely in fourth, benefiting from the retirement of the No18 Porsche. He finished the race two laps behind the winning No17 Porsche.
The results keep the reigning world champions in third place in the manufacturer’s standings, with three races left to contest. The next round will take place on home ground for Toyota, the Six Hours of Fuji in Japan on 11 October.