Toyota Gazoo Racing are targeting a title triumph this weekend as they make the short trip from their Cologne base to Belgium for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the penultimate round of the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The team lead the championship standings by 53 points, so can secure victory by scoring 12 points, or if their nearest rivals, Rebellion Racing, fail to finish on the podium.
The season began at Spa in May last year and since then Toyota Gazoo Racing have claimed five one-two victories in six races, most recently at the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in March.
While the teams’ World Championship is close to a conclusion, the drivers’ title battle remains very much open with two races and 65 points available. Following their Sebring victory, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso in the No8 TS050 Hybrid hold the upper hand, leading the standings by 15 points from the No7 crew of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.
Conway said: “Spa is one of my favourite races so I am looking forward to getting back. We have been unlucky there a few times when we had the chance to win but it hasn’t worked out. We had a really quick car at Spa last year but started one lap down due to the penalty; we still came through and nearly won. So we need to pick up from there and we will be in good shape. I’d love to win at Spa and that will be my target.”
The 7km spa circuit is the second-longest on the WEC calendar (after Le Mans) and is considered one of the two home tracks for Toyota Gazoo Racing – the other being Fuji Speedway in Japan.
The team recently completed a 4,000km test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, running the TS050 Hybrid in low-downforce trim in preparation for both the Spa race and the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
The action at Spa begins tomorrow (Thursday) with two 90-minute practice sessions. Qualifying will take place on Friday for the 35-car grid. The race will get under way at 12.30pm UK time on Saturday.