Toyota Gazoo Racing return to Japan this weekend seeking a fourth consecutive victory on home ground at the 6 Hours of Fuji, the second round of the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Since their last visit to Fuji, the team have claimed the 2018-2019 drivers’ and team’s world championships and won the Le Mans 24 Hours race for the second time. Their winning streak now extends to six races, including the first round of the new season at Silverstone in August.
The team’s British driver Mike Conway was part of the No7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid crew that won last time out, driving with Kamui Kobayashi and José María López and claiming maximum championship points. But this success comes at a cost: for this weekend’s race they have incurred the maximum success handicap of 1.4 seconds per lap. For Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, who came second at Silverstone in the No8 Toyota, the penalty is one second per lap.
Conway is upbeat about his prospects: “I love going to Fuji Speedway, not just because it’s our home race and we have had a lot of success there over the years. It’s also great to see everybody at Higashi-Fuji (Toyota’s engineering development centre) who put together our hybrid powertrain; that is always a cool experience,” he said.
“Obviously we are looking for another victory after starting the season with the win at Silverstone. It’s the last time the TS050 Hybrid will race at our home track, so I hope we can make it a special weekend for the fans.”
The lap time penalties, together with new equivalency rules that make the Toyotas up to 108kg heavier than their non-hybrid rivals and reduce their fuel limit by 61 per cent, set the scene for a close race. Toyota Gazoo Racing are defending a near-perfect record at Fuji, having won all but one race there since returning to WEC competition in 2012.
Practice gets under way on Friday with three hours of track action across two sessions, prior to qualifying on Saturday. The six-hour race will start at 11am local time on Sunday.
Note to editors: Copyright-free photographs and rights-free on-track video of the 2019-2020 TS050 Hybrid can be found at https://www.tgr-dam.com
2019-2020 Toyota Gazoo Racing WEC Media Information: https://wec-specialsite.tgr-dam.com/