Toyota Ready For Le Mans Challenge

4 June 2015

Britons Davidson and Conway to the fore in Toyota Gazoo Racing squad

Toyota Gazoo Racing are ready to challenge for glory at the Le Mans 24 Hours, 30 years on from Toyota’s first official entry in the world’s most famous sportscar race.

British drivers Anthony Davidson and Mike Conway are in the two-car squad for the centrepiece of the World Endurance Championship season and are keen to bring home the prize that has so far eluded the team.

Davidson and Sébastien Buemi, the current joint WEC world champion drivers, will be joined in the No1 Toyota TS040 Hybrid by Kazuki Nakajima, who is making a speedy return to competition following his practice accident at Spa in May. The Japanese star will be looking to repeat the pace that brought the car pole position at Le Mans a year ago.

Davidson, whose best finish in seven starts in the race was second in 2013, said: “I am absolutely ready for Le Mans this year. Winning the World Championship last year helps because I feel I’ve proved what I needed to in endurance racing. Le Mans is something I really want on my CV, it’s a challenge I want to overcome, but it’s a fickle race which you can’t control, you can’t go in with a plan and expect everything to run smoothly.

“I’m much more relaxed this year and if we go to the race as underdogs maybe that is when it will finally happened for us.”

Conway features in the regular line-up for the No2 car, alongside Alex Wurz, a two-time Le Mans winner, and Stéphane Sarrazin, who been on pole for the event three times in 13 appearances.

Conway has only competed in the race once before, but said that was enough to understand its unique character and atmosphere: “It’s long and gruelling, but when you’re in the car, that’s when you’re feeling your best. I’ve worked hard on my fitness so feel ready for the challenge. We’re a strong team and I know everyone has done their maximum to prepare.

A difficult start to the 2015 season means the team travels to Le Mans searching for its first win of the year and knowing both cars face tough competition in the hotly-contested LMP1 category.

Thorough preparation and knowledge of the race’s unique demands, plus the experience of a positive test day last Sunday, give the team quiet optimism that they can be a contender in the fight for honours.

Le Mans is a true endurance challenge, with almost 35 hours of driving in practice and qualifying and the race itself. Action starts next Wednesday (11 June) with a four-hour practice session at 4pm before two hours of qualifying begin at 10pm (all times local).

Qualifying continues on Thursday with a two more 120-minute sessions, at 7pm and 10pm. The starting grid is decided by the fastest single lap from any of the qualifying sessions. Race weekend begins with a 45-minute warm-up session at 9am, with the race itself under way at 3pm.

Toyota at Le Mans
(Chassis name in brackets)

1985    No36 (85C-L): qualifying 29th; Race 12th. No 38 (85C-L): qualifying 22nd; race DNF (mechanical).
1986    No36 (86C-L): qualifying 40th; race DNF (mechanical). No38 (86C-L): qualifying 30th; race 20th.
1987    No36 (87C-L): qualifying 14th; race DNF (mechanical). No37 (87C-L): qualifying 16th; race DNF (mechanical).
1988    No36 (88C): qualifying 8th; race 12th. No37 (88C): qualifying 10th; race 24th.
1989    No36 (89C-V): qualifying 24th; race DNF (mechanical). No37 (89C-V): qualifying 17th; race DNF (accident). No38 (88C): qualifying 25th; race DNF (accident).
1990    No36 (90C-V): qualifying 10th; race 6th. No37 (90C-V): qualifying 14th; race DNF (accident). No38 (90C-V): qualifying 16th; race DNF (mechanical).
1992    No7 (TS010): qualifying 3rd; race DNF (mechanical). No8 (TS010): qualifying 4th; race 8th. No33 (TS010): qualifying 5th; race 2nd. No34 (92C-V): qualifying 11th; race 9th. No35 (92C-V): qualifying 15th; race 5th.
1993    No22 (93C-V): qualifying 10th; race 5th. No25 (93C-V); qualifying 12th; race 6th. No36 (TS010): qualifying 2nd; race 4th. No37 (TS010): qualifying 5th; race DNF (mechanical). No38 (TS010): qualifying 4th; race 8th.
1994    No 1 (94 C-V): qualifying 4th; race 2nd. No4 (94 C-V): qualifying 8th; race 4th.
1995    No27 (Supra LM): qualifying 30th; race 14th.
1996    No57 (Supra LM): qualifying 36th; race DNF (accident).
1998    No27 (TS020): qualifying 8th; race 9th. No28 (TS020): qualifying 2nd; race DNF (accident). No29 (TS020): qualifying 7th; race DNF (mechanical)
1999    No1 (TS020): qualifying 1st; race DNF (accident). No2 (TS020): qualifying 2nd; race DNF (accident). No3 (TS020): qualifying 8th; race 2nd.
2012    No7 (TS030 HYBRID): qualifying 5th; race DNF (mechanical). No8 (TS030 HYBRID): qualifying: 3rd; race DNF (accident).
2013    No7 (TS030 HYBRID): qualifying 5th; race 4th. No8: qualifying (TS030 HYBRID): 4th; race 2nd.
2014    No7 (TS040 HYBRID): qualifying 1st; race DNF (mechanical). No8 (TS040 HYBRID): qualifying: 3rd; race 3rd.


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Toyota Ready For Le Mans Challenge


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