Two TS030 HYBRIDs will participate, with Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre defending their Shanghai crown from 2012 in the #7 car as Kazuki Nakajima is on Super Formula duty.
Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin, ever-present so far in 2013, return in the #8.
That two-car line-up delivered an extremely competitive performance throughout the Six Hours of Fuji last month, although the #7’s first place in the came without a racing lap due to terrible weather conditions.
Better weather is expected for this weekend’s race, taking place at the Shanghai International Circuit, a 5.451km track on the outskirts of the city which was completed in 2004.
It features four designated hybrid braking zones – the same as Austin and Fuji – where the drivers benefit from 300hp of acceleration boost from the TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing.
The drivers get their first chance to experience that hybrid power when practice begins on Friday at 08.00 local time, with a second two-hour session following at midday.
The compact two-day race weekend sees qualifying at 16.35 on Friday with the race starting at 11.00 on Saturday.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “I am pleased to once again have both TS030 HYBRIDs in action. Even though we were first in Fuji, it was difficult to celebrate a victory due to the unusual circumstances. We were sure we could win the race had the weather been fine, so we head to China determined to prove that and take a real victory. Last year’s Shanghai race, our third win, was one of the highlights of our season and we are looking to repeat that. We are very motivated to end the season strongly, starting in Shanghai.”
Alex Wurz (TS030 HYBRID #7): “In China last year we did a perfect job and got the reward; a victory. The set-up was amazing and the tyre durability was key to the win. With the tough competition this year we need to get everything spot on to win again. It will be a big help to have both cars available for set-up and tyre work in free practice, sharing the work and information. It’s always nice to stand on the top step of the podium, but it felt strange in Fuji after no proper racing laps. So hopefully we have a dry weekend in China and a great fight. I call for maximum attack in Shanghai with one goal only; to win.”
Nicolas Lapierre (TS030 HYBRID #7): “Last year we had great performance in Shanghai in the last race of 2012. There are still two races to go in the 2013 season and my target is to again finish on a high. First place in Fuji was a good start but the most satisfying aspect of the weekend was our competitiveness in the dry sessions. We proved we can really fight with Audi and it was only disappointing that we could not show that in the race due to the weather. That is our target in Shanghai; we’ll be giving everything to come out on top.”
Anthony Davidson (TS030 HYBRID #8): “It’s my first time to race an LMP1 car in Shanghai but I have plenty of experience from my F1 days so it will be good to be there again. Fuji was an incredibly frustrating experience all round for our car; due to the pre-race delay we lost a lap then the weather prevented us showing the car’s true pace. But Shanghai is another race and we are determined to return to the front. Based on our performance level in Japan, I am sure we can take the fight to Audi and I’m looking to get a win for TOYOTA Racing before the end of the season.”
Sébastien Buemi (TS030 HYBRID #8): “It’s great to have both TS030 HYBRIDs in action again and I hope we can show the same level of performance we did at Fuji. The car in the dry was really strong and gave the drivers a lot of confidence so we will be aiming to repeat that in Shanghai. It’s going to be a very busy weekend as all the sessions are compressed into two days, so we need to stay focused and work really hard on Friday to get the car set-up right for the race. It will be important not to make any mistakes.”
Stéphane Sarrazin (TS030 HYBRID #8): “In Fuji we had a strong car and all drivers were very happy with the balance and the set-up; it was the best we have had all year. That made it even more frustrating that we could not show our speed in the race. Our challenge in Shanghai is to again get the car to this level where we can race for victory. It is a different circuit, one which I really enjoy, so we need to make some adjustments to get the right balance. We will work hard on this during Firday’s long practice sessions and I am sure we can get there.”