Fuji Test Day: Drivers Comments

TOYOTA Racing hit the track early at Fuji Speedway, with a group test today giving the team the chance to see how the TS030 HYBRID performs on our home circuit.

Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima completed 59 laps in the morning, setting the fastest time overall; 1min 29.088secs. In the afternoon, 97 laps were completed with a best time of 1min 29.177secs, putting the #7 car third fastest in that session.

Here’s what the drivers had to say about their first experience of Fuji Speedway in an LMP1 car…

Alex Wurz: “I last drove here five years ago and it is very much as I expected. Quite quickly I remembered the things I learned in a Formula 1 car are also very true for the prototypes. The circuit isn’t as easy as it looks on the track map. It is super technical and you have to be precise and disciplined, especially the last sector. So it is not an easy track I have to say, but that makes it quite interesting. You have to be precise down to the millimetre because if you push over the limit by 1kmh on the entry and you slide wide, you will lose half a second on exit, because lots of the corners change camber and are blind. It is very special and quite difficult to explain. The long straight is unusual but it is never boring if you are in a beautiful race car!”

Nicolas Lapierre: “I have driven here with the TMG simulator so I knew where to go. There is a good correlation with the simulator, although you feel the undulations more in real life than in the simulator. Even watching onboard laps I couldn’t see how much it goes up and down hill. It is a very technical track; not easy at all, especially the last sector which is very undulating and all second or third gear. It is very difficult to learn and to find the right markers so it is good we had this test day, at least for me so I can get used to the track. One particularly striking feature of Fuji Speedway is the straight. It is so long, just unbelievable. When you are at the beginning of it you can’t see the end; it’s massive. It’s good to have this long straight when it comes to getting through traffic because the rest of the track is quite complicated. Overall it is
a nice track, especially in beautiful weather like today when you can see the mountains.”

Kazuki Nakajima: “It was interesting to experience the track in an LMP1 car. I know Fuji Speedway well from Super GT racing but it is of course different to experience it with the TS030 HYBRID. The track is good fun in this car and I was really struck with the braking. In Super GT we don’t use carbon brakes so it was impressive to feel the difference. Compared to Super GT, the TS030 HYBRID is about four seconds quicker over one lap but in Super GT we have softer tyres; on race pace the difference will be around six seconds I think. The time is mainly made up from the braking and the boost out of the corner; it’s all cornering speed. Our lap times were good today. In the morning we could
compare the tyres and in the afternoon we did some long runs so we did what we set out to; it was a good day.”