Toyota Gazoo Racing maintained their perfect 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season record with a one-two finish on home ground in the 6 Hours of Fuji on Sunday.
It was a seventh win in eight years for the reigning World Champions at the Japanese circuit, with Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley driving the No8 TS050 Hybrid to victory from pole position.
Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López finished second in the No7 Toyota, leaving both crews tied on equal points at the top of the drivers’ championship. In the teams’ title race, Toyota Gazoo Racing have a 35-point advantage over Rebellion.
A new success handicap system came into play for the first time at the race, and its effects were clear from the opening laps. Buemi, carrying a one second per lap handicap in the No8 Toyota, held off a strong initial challenge from the No5 Ginetta, while Kobayashi in the No7 car, running with a 1.4 second penalty, had a close fight for second place, regularly swapping position with the Rebellion car which had a 40km/h top speed advantage.
Light rain and a drive-through penalty for Nakajima did not prevent the team from claiming the two top podium places, Buemi taking his 16th outright WEC victory more than half a minute ahead of Kobayashi.
The team will have to race with an increased handicap at the next championship round, the 4 Hours of Shanghai on 10 November. This will be equal for both cars, as each crew has the same number of World Championship points.
6 Hours of Fuji results
1st No8 Toyota Gazoo Racing (Buemi/Nakajima/Hartley) 232 laps
2nd No7 Toyota Gazoo Racing (Conway/Kobayashi/ López) +33.955secs
3rd No1 Rebellion (Senna/Menezes/Nato) +2 laps
4th No29 Team Nederland (Van Eerd/Van der Garde/De Vries) +10 laps