TOYOTA GAZOO RACING DRIVERS LOOK AHEAD TO 2016

TS050_6

In the #5 TS050 HYBRID, 2014 World Champions Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi are again joined by former Le Mans pole position winner Kazuki Nakajima to form a potent partnership.

Multiple Le Mans pole position winner Stéphane Sarrazin once again links up with fellow WEC race winner Mike Conway in the #6. They are joined by Formula 1 podium finisher Kamui Kobayashi, promoted from test and reserve driver.

While TOYOTA has no official test and reserve driver this year, young Japanese driver Ryo Hirakawa will be a part of the team, as a member of the TOYOTA Young Drivers Programme (TDP). Ryo, who is a race winner in Japanese Super GT and a former Japanese Formula Three champion, will also race an LMP2 car in the European Le Mans Series with the TDS Racing team.

He will join further tests this season as he acclimatises to the specific demands of an LMP1 car and, like his team-mates, will benefit from the experience of Alex Wurz, who has begun a new chapter in his career as an advisor and team ambassador for TOYOTA.

Anthony Davidson (#5 TS050 HYBRID): “I’m looking forward to getting started this season with the new TS050 HYBRID; it’s always an exciting time of the year. Last year it was obviously a disappointment but this season we will be stronger and hopefully more like 2014 when we were really competitive. It’s not going to be easy because the competition is strong but we are pushing hard, working on reliability and performance. We are all focused on playing our part and making progress as quickly as possible, as you can see with this completely new car. I’m really impressed with the TS050 HYBRID; I like the different sound of the turbo engine and the 8MJ system is a huge step forward. All the drivers feel that and it makes us realise what we were missing last year. I can’t wait to experience it in race conditions.”

Sébastien Buemi (#5 TS050 HYBRID): “I’m fully motivated to start the season. We’ve worked very hard and I’m sure that’s going to translate into lap times. The new car is definitely a big step forward. Our chassis has always been quite competitive and we’ve tried to make it even better and we have developed a lot in all areas. Obviously we have put a huge amount of effort into the engine as well as the hybrid system and we can already see the positive results. Thanks to everyone in Higashi-Fuji and Cologne for their hard work; it continues to be a big effort and we are still optimising everything. I cannot predict anything until we get out on track against the others in a competitive environment at Silverstone but my target for this season is clear; I want to be back at the top of the podium.”

Kazuki Nakajima (#5 TS050 HYBRID): “I have been looking forward to the start of this season and our new car since early last season, so it’s great that it is finally getting started. Last season was tough but it just gave us all added motivation to come back stronger. Introducing this new car, including completely new powertrain shows how serious we are about competing again. The TS050 HYBRID definitely feels like a major improvement, particularly thanks to the new engine and hybrid system. It’s impressive how powerful 8MJ is and the duration of the boost is really cool; this is something really positive for us this season. Our motivation and team spirit is really high. Everyone has been working so hard to be ready for the first race. Now I am ready to win some races this year and to be competitive again; that is the target.”

Stéphane Sarrazin (#6 TS050 HYBRID): “I’m really excited that the season is coming. We are testing a lot and the whole team is pushing really hard to make sure we have reliability and to fine-tune our car for the season. The Prologue will be the first time where we can see what Audi and Porsche did during the winter, so it will be interesting. Generally, of course I hope that we will be back in the game and that we can show good performance already in Silverstone. My first impressions of the TS050 HYBRID are very positive. It is definitely a big step forward and we improved every single part, particularly the powertrain. The battery itself is really incredible with 8MJ of boost; this is a very good point for us. We are in a busy period to prepare for the season but have a good starting point and we expect to be fighting at the front.”

Mike Conway (#6 TS050 HYBRID): “I obviously have high expectations for the upcoming season; the target is to get back to winning races. It is nice to have Kamui in the car crew; we’ve tested together already and he is definitely quick so we’re ready to fight. As a team we have made good progress over the winter and the new TS050 HYBRID is cool. We have taken a big step by moving into the 8MJ class and the new battery is impressive. The whole team has made a massive effort to change every aspect of the car, which is not a simple task, and we are all hugely motivated to get back to the front. At the moment it’s hard to tell where we are compared to the other manufacturers but we definitely made a big step forward.”

Kamui Kobayashi (#6 TS050 HYBRID): “I like the new car; it is definitely a big improvement which gives me a lot of hope for the season. I particularly like the new powertrain with turbo engine and 8MJ hybrid system; it’s great to drive this car! Of course, it is always challenging with such a new package and we have to work hard to maximise performance and reliability. This season is a new experience for me. I have raced in WEC before but that was only in the GT class; LMP1 cars are a totally different story and there are new things to learn. I’m happy to be part of the #6 car with Stéphane and Mike, who are really good drivers with a lot of experience. My target this season is to show strong performance and of course to win races. I can’t wait to get started in Silverstone.”