TOYOTA GAZOO Racing handed an LMP1 test debut to young Brazilian driver Pipo Derani in Bahrain today, the day after the final race of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.
Pipo, who is 23 years old and from Sao Paulo in Brazil, was selected by the WEC to participate in today’s ‘rookie test’ as a result of his strong performances in LMP2.
This year he has earned four podium finishes for Extreme Speed Motorsports in WEC whilst also winning the prestigious Daytona and Sebring events in the Weathertech SportsCar Championship in the United States.
Having prepared for today’s test with a visit to the team’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany for a seat fitting and simulator session, Pipo got his first laps in the TS050 HYBRID early in the morning session.
He drove the #5 car and completed a total of 32 laps in three stints, showing consistency and speed.
Pipo said: “It was a great opportunity to test with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. I am a lucky guy to get this chance because not many drivers are able to test an LMP1 car nowadays. It was great for me to see how an LMP1 team goes about its work and to understand how the hybrid system works. At the end of the day, an LMP1 car is not massively different to the LMP2 cars that I am used to; the big difference is the amazing hybrid boost coming out of the corners. It was a nice experience to push the throttle coming out of turn one! You certainly feel the 1,000hp.”
Another new face behind the wheel today was Yannick Dalmas, the 55-year-old four-time Le Mans winner who now acts as FIA Driver Advisor to WEC. Yannick completed 11 laps as he took the chance to better understand the specific demands of modern LMP1 hybrid prototypes.