After Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre during the roll-out, Kazuki Nakajima discovered the TOYOTA TS030 HYBRID at Paul Ricard HTTT. The Japanese driver, who will participate for the first time at the Le Mans 24 Hours, speaks about this first test for TOYOTA Racing.
Kazuki, you did your first laps with the TOYOTA TS030 HYBRID. What is your feeling ?
“It was a very exciting and interesting experience to drive a Le Mans Prototype for the first time. The cockpit is tightly compared to what I drove before, but I can drive nicely. The car seems to have a lot of potential and I try to get close to the limit to see this potential. It is well balanced, and nice to drive. The hybrid system is also very interesting, especially because we start to use it better.”
It was your first time in a Le Mans Prototype…
“Right. The car is different but in terms of driving, it’s only slightly different. I just have to find the limit of the grip and adapt to that. I need some more laps, but the pace is already here so I am pretty confident.”
You also drove at night. Did you enjoy that?
“I have already drove at night before, but that was only with touring cars. I have never done it with such a quick car. It was not easy because there is not so much light on this track. On the other hand, I am sure that we will have other opportunities to get used to the night conditions. I prefer running in day light but It’s a different experience, a different challenge.”
How do Alex and Nicolas, who have already raced at Le Mans, share their experience?
“To win at Le Mans for first time at your first start, it’s very difficult. Not many drivers have achieved that, so it shows how it is difficult. Alex and Nicolas have a lot of experience and it’s a tremendous help. They answer all my questions, including how to manage the time which is special in endurance racing : when to eat, how to sleep etc. Every single aspect is concerned. My experience in Super GT will help me, in particular in the traffic. And you know, two of the three winners at Le Mans in 2011 were racing in Super GT. So it gives me confidence…”
What do you expect of your Le Mans discovery?
“I have discovered this circuit on the TMG driving simulator in Cologne. It was really an exciting experience, even without the traffic. So I am looking forward to run there in real life! I can’t wait to get to the race itself. I also heard a lot of things about the special atmosphere, with a lot of spectators. I have never been to Le Mans, so it will be a big discovery!”