TOYOTA Racing heads into uncharted territory this weekend with its first visit to the United States, for the inaugural Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas, the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin drive the #8 TS030 HYBRID in Austin before joining a two-car entry at Fuji Speedway on 20 October, alongside the #7 line-up of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima.
TOYOTA Racing heads Stateside determined to bounce back after a very promising but ultimately disappointing race last time out in Brazil.
The high-downforce aerodynamic update to the TS030 HYBRID performed well at Interlagos and the #8 looked set to fight for victory. But Stéphane was hit by a lapped car, ending the team’s race after just 35 minutes.
TOYOTA Racing aims to again challenge at the front at the recently-constructed Circuit of the Americas, a 5.515km track with significant elevation changes which hosts its first international endurance race this weekend.
The track features 20 corners, including a fast sweeping section between two tight hairpins in the first half of the lay-out.
Four hybrid recovery zones allow the TS030 HYBRID to recharge its TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing to the 500kJ limit imposed by regulation. After each recovery zone, the drivers can use a 300hp hybrid boost for better acceleration.
Action at the Circuit of the Americas begins with a test day on Thursday, before two official practice sessions on Friday (09.15-10.45 & 15.25-16.55 local time). After Saturday’s final practice (08.40-09.40), 25 minutes of qualifying takes place at 13.35. The race begins at 11.00 on Sunday.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “It is exciting for TOYOTA Racing to be competing in the United States for the first time, particularly at a track like the Circuit of the Americas. It looks like a great lay-out and I can’t wait to see the TS030 HYBRID running flat-out there. It would be a dream result to win the first WEC race in Austin but it will be a challenge. Our high-downforce package performed well in Brazil but we didn’t have the chance to see exactly how competitive we were in race conditions due to the accident. So this time we want to take the fight to Audi for the full six hours.”
Anthony Davidson (#8): “We had an extremely disappointing race in Brazil when we thought we had a genuine chance of victory so I am determined to have a better weekend in Austin. Our updated TS030 HYBRID felt really good at Interlagos which gives us confidence for this weekend. The Circuit of the Americas is a great track and a new one for everyone in LMP1. This will be the first time I have driven there so I can’t wait. It’s a busy week for us with the collective test on Thursday, but this is a good opportunity to optimise set-ups before practice begins. Hopefully we can hit the ground running.”
Sébastien Buemi (#8): “It is a great experience to race in America, and Austin is a nice city, so I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for while. Racing in Texas in September will be tough because it will be very hot – similar to Bahrain last year. I am fit so I relish the challenge. I think it is good to have a race in America and it is a very nice circuit which should suit endurance racing very well. The start-finish straight is the main feature. It is very impressive and then you have a blind turn one; I can’t wait to experience that in the TS030 HYBRID.”
Stéphane Sarrazin (#8): “I love racing in the United States and it’s been a great experience to compete in Grand-Am this year. The American fans are fantastic and I’m really looking forward to showing them what an LMP1 car can do. They have a huge passion for endurance racing and I’m sure they will enjoy seeing the performance of the TS030 HYBRID, especially at a flowing track like Austin. I drove there in March and enjoyed the track a lot. After what happened in Brazil, I am really motivated to get a strong result this weekend and I think we are capable of that.”