Category Archives: Season 2013

6 hours of Bahrain: Toyota ends on a high

bahreinAnthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin took the eighth and final race of the season in the World Championship FIM Endurance, the Bahrain 6 Hours, globally under Japanese brand’s dominance and strong showing.
Toyota started with sweeping the front row with its #7 (Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima) ahead of #8 ( Davidson, Buemi, Sarrazin). Both TS030 HYBRID started seamlessly when lights came out in the twilight, in Sakhir circuit . After one hour, the #8 took the lead and an hour later the #7 retired on an engine problem. The English-Swiss-French then controlled the last Audi running to take the chequered flag with a 1 meb 10 sc margin over André Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler .

The numbers
14 races, five pole positions, 10 podiums ans 5 wins are among the stats of the Toyota TS030 Hybrid, which hit the track in competition last year in Le Mans Hours.

The quote
“I am very happy. Also we could show our real performance to the wider world; something that hasn’t necessarily been reflected in the results in the last few races.” Team President Yoshiaka Kinoshita was particularly pleased with the way his car met success in Sakhir, finally showing a clear advantage over world champion Audi.

The anecdote
Bahrain is the second success for Toyota this season, after the somewhat curtailed Shanghai, but it is also the second time in 2013 that the Japanese brand sweeps the freont row after the first event held in April at Silverstone.

Classification
1. P1 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota 6h01m15.303s
2. P1 Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler Audi +1m10.585s
3. P2 Rusinov/Martin/Conway Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan +15 laps
4. P2 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan +15 laps
5. P2 Wirdheim/Reip/Lancaster Greaves Zytek-Nissan +15 laps
6. P2 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Morgan-Nissan +17 laps
7. P2 Nicolet/Ihara/Cheng OAK Morgan-Nissan +19 laps
8. P2 Giroix/Kerr/Dolby Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan +21 laps
9. GTE P Bruni/Vilander AF Ferrari +24 laps
10. GTE P Bergmeister/Pilet Manthey Porsche +24 laps

6 hours of Shanghaï: Toyota endures Chinese torture

shangaiThe two Toyotas TS030 HYBRID were flying to success a little over an hour from the end of the 6 Hours of Shanghai when a twist of fate handed a sixth win in seven races to Audi.

The facts
After the win in a curtailed race at home in Fuji, Toyota aimed to convert their advantage in performance in Shanghai. Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre’s was the best start to the weekend. On the day after, the #7 of the French-Austrian duo lead the start soon followed by sister-car # 8 with Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin.
For more than four hours, a historic double loomed lap after lap. Then a puncture hit the #7 which had just refuelled. A few minutes later, the #8 was retired following a broken suspension.
The Audi R18 #1 with Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer took the opportunity close the gap to to return in the wake of the 7 and Tréluyer passed Wurz after a thrilling duel to win with the final 16 seconds feed .

The sentence
“It was an amazing weekend until the last 90 minutes of the race.”
French driver Stephane Sarrazin, like all Toyota team, believed a second victory in two years in Shanghai was possible for the TS030 HYBRID. The mechanical issues lead to a “a huge disappointment” for his teammate Anthony Davidson.

The figure
162 – With 162 points one race to season end, Allan McNich, Loïc Duval and Tom Kristensen , who secured 3rd place in Shanghai, are the new World Endurance champions .

The anecdote
The Toyota was still reflecting, at the end of last weekend, regarding the origin of their suspension failure which cost dear to the #8. “The suspension problem was maybe due to contact with another car at the beginning; we are investigating exactly why this happened,” team boss Yoshiaki Kinoshita said.

Next up
Bahrain Six Hours, 30 November 2013

Classification
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. P1 Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler Audi 6h01m33.343s
2. P1 Wurz/Lapierre Toyota +15.374s
3. P1 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi +1 laps
4. P1 Belicchi/Beche/Prost Rebellion Lola-Toyota +5 laps
5. P2 Rusinov/Martin/Conway Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan +13 laps
6. P2 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan +13 laps
7. P2 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Morgan-Nissan +13 laps
8. P2 Graves/Kerr/Dolby Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan +14 laps
9. P2 Shulzhitckiy/Lux/Wirdheim Greaves Zytek-Nissan +15 laps
10. P2 Nicolet/Ihara/Cheng OAK Morgan-Nissan +18 laps
11. P2 Holzer/Kraihamer/Charouz Lotus +18 laps
12. GTE P Turner/Mucke Aston Martin +21 laps
13. GTE P Lamy/Senna/Stanaway Aston Martin +21 laps
14. GTE P Bergmeister/Pilet Manthey Porsche +22 laps
15. GTE P Bruni/Fisichella AF Ferrari +22 laps
16. GTE P Kobayashi/Vilander AF Ferrari +23 laps
17. GTE P Lieb/Lietz Manthey Porsche +23 laps
18. GTE A Potolicchio/Aguas/Rigon 8Star Ferrari +24 laps
19. GTE A Narac/Vernay/Palttala Imsa Porsche +25 laps
20. GTE A Campbell-Walter/Hall/Adam Aston Martin +25 laps
21. GTE A Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Porsche +25 laps
22. GTE A Bornhauser/Canal/Rees Larbre Corvette +26 laps
23. GTE A Gerber/Griffin/Cioci AF Ferrari +26 laps
24. P1 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota +47 laps
25. GTE A Krohn/Jonsson/Mediani Krohn Ferrari +51 laps

6 hours of Fuji: Toyota take damp win

humOn board of the Toyota TS030 HYBRID N.7, Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima won the Fuji 6 Hours, a race curtailed by heavy and continuous rainfalls flooding the Japanese track.

The facts
It’s probably not the way Toyota aimed to retain the title won in Fuji last year, but the skies had other idea. Torrential rains prompted two red flags and there was no third interruption as worsening weather conditions and deteriorating light forced to abandon the 6th race of the season after 3:46 and only 16 laps run behind the Safety Car. The Audi R18 # 2 (Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval) took the second place.
Third on the grid, the N. 7 took advantage of mechanical and technical glitches hitting the two cars in front, the N.1 Audi of Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer, and the N. 8 Toyota of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin, to sit right behind the Safety Car.

The quote
“Everyone is happy when Christmas arrives and today it came early for us.” Wurz was fully aware that Toyota’s fourth win in the WEC was a kind of present. “It is really disappointing for the fans but it was the right decision. The (24,000) fans waited a long time but nobody wants to see anyone getting hurt. We race hard but we all have to respect nature and today there was nothing we could do,” Austrian added.

The number
0.178 secs – The gap after qualifying, on Saturday, the ‘real’
competitive day, between the N.1 Audi and the N.8 Toyota. It shows how close cars are in performance. The day after, the team on pole had to wtop three time due to airbox issues. The N.8 had to start from the pitlane after missing the pit exit closure time.

The stories
• Toyota confirmed they will line up two cars for the next event
in Shanghai. No decision has been made for Bahrain.
• Audi, second in Fuji, ensured the Manufacturers crown. Drivers
titles is not decided yet.
• Nissan unveiled their Le Mans 2014 prototype, the ZEOD, an
LMP1 with a deltawing shape.

Next up
Shanghai Six Hours, 30 Novembre 2013

Classification
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. P1 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota 2h56m05.785s
2. P1 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi +1.901s
3. P1 Belicchi/Beche Rebellion Lola-Toyota +1.971s
4. P2 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Morgan-Nissan +2.259s
5. P2 Rusinov/Martin/Conway Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan +2.093s
6. P2 Hiranaka/Ueda/Wirdheim Greaves Zytek-Nissan +2.831s
7. P2 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan +12.834s
8. P2 Graves/Walker/Nakano Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan +15.323s
9. P2 Bradley/Koizumi/Matsuda KCMG Morgan-Nissan +19.569s
10. P2 Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan +21.494s

13. GTE P Turner/Mucke/Makowiecki Aston Martin +38.900s

6 hours of Austin: Toyota in the fight in Texas

texasOn board the Toyota TS030 HYBRID, Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Stéphane Sarrazin took second place at the Six Hours of the Circuit of Americas in Austin, Texas, troubling considerably the Audis run and fighting for win to the end.

The facts
The Japanese marque bounced back in style following the setback of an early retirement in Interlagos this month, crossing the finishing line 23.617 seconds behind the Audi #2 shared by Loic Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, who started from pole. The other Audi, led by Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer ended two laps down on third after some incidents.
Audi had the fastest car on track but the Toyota, who led the race, almost shocked the dominant force through its ability to double stint its tyres and shone with a better fuel consumption. That left the team fight for victory until the final pit-stop. That performance raises expectations for the next race as at home in Fuji Toyota will enter one more car.

The quote
Today was the first time we could really see the performance of our high-downforce specification in a race and I’m happy to have closed the gap. Particularly today I want to thank our drivers because the double stints were tough for them, especially Sebastien who did two of them.” Team President Yoshiaki Kinoshita was an happy man after the race.

The number
8 – The number of events to contest next year, with the same circuits as in 2013. A slight difference would be that the season will end a fortnight earlier in Bahrain. A draft schedule has been unveiled in Austin.

The story
Davidson didn’t stay around for long after the champagne ceremony on Sunday night. The British dashed home right after the race on a day where he became a father for the second time following the birth of his daughter. “Managed to video call to witness the arrival of my beautiful baby daughter this morning,” he said prior to the race. “Feeling pumped now!!”

To come
6 Hours of Fuji, 20 October 2013

Classification
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. P1 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi 6h00m31.331s
2. P1 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota +23.617
3. P1 Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler Audi +1 lap
4. P1 Prost/Heidfeld/Beche Rellion Lola-Toyota +4 laps
5. P2 Rusinov/Martin/Conway Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan +9 laps
6. P2 Perez Companc/Minassian.Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan +10 laps
7. P2 Holzer/Kraihamer/Charouz Lotus +13 laps
8. P2 Graves/Walker/Junco Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan +14 laps
9. P2 Zugel/Dyson/Kimber-Smith Greaves Zytek-Nissan +15 laps
10. P2 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan +15 laps
11. P2 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Morgan-Nissan +17 laps
12. GTE P Senna/Makowiecki Aston Martin +20 laps
13. GTE P Bruni/Fisichella AF Ferrari +20 laps
14. GTE P Kobayashi/Vilander AF Ferrari +20 laps
15. GTE P Lieb/Lietz Manthey Porsche +20 laps
16. GTE A Hall/Campbell-Walter Aston Martin +22 laps
17. GTE A Nygaard/Poulsen/Thiim Aston Martin +22 laps
18. GTE A Narac/Vernay ImsaPorsche +22 laps
19. GTE A Potolicchio/Aguas/Malucelli 8Star Ferrari +23 laps
20. GTE P Bergmeister/Pilet Manthey Porsche +24 laps
21. GTE A Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Porsche +24 laps
22. GTE A Bornhauser/Canal/Rees Larbre Corvette +24 laps
23. GTE A Gerber/Griffin/Cioci AF Ferrari +25 laps
24. GTE A Krohn/Jonsson/Mediani Krohn Ferrari +31 laps
25. P2 Nicolet/Merlin/Maris OAK Morgan-Nissan +39 laps

6 hours of Sao Paulo: a blow in Brazil

bresilBad luck hits Toyota at Interlagos
The Sao Paulo 6 Hours lasted only 35 minutes for the Toyota Racing team who withdrew its car N.8 after it was taken out by an LMP2 car. The incident paved the way for another Audi success with the N°1 led by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer.

The facts
From the second row, behind two Audis, the lone Toyota TS013 Hybrid entered experienced a good start in the hands of Frenchman Stéphane Sarrazin. On a circuit which saw its first triumph last year, the German-Japanese outfit could only lament a dramatic turn of luck when Dominik Kraihamer lost his Lotus LMP2 N.32 in the Senna Esses to crash into the Toyota which was about to lap him.

The figure
0. The number of kilometers Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi drove in Interlagos race as the crash in the first prevented them from racing.

The quote
“I am very disappointed for the team; I am very sorry. I was doing my race and I was lapping the LMP2 car in a normal place. He lost control of his car and crashed into me. What can I do? I did my very best to get the car back to the box but it was impossible. It’s a very bad day for us. I am so disappointed because we thought we would be part of a great fight today.” Stephane Sarrazin.

The story
A retirement is even much harder than the prototype was vastly revised with new front wheel arches, engine cover and rear wing in order to significantly increases downforce levels compared to the Le Mans-spec car. The Toyota was fastest on the first day of the event.

Coming up
Circuit of the Americas 6 Hours (Austin, Texas, 22 September)

Classification
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. P1 Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler Audi 6h01m26.209s
2. P1 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi +3 laps
3. P1 Prost/Heidfeld/Beche Rebellion Lola-Toyota +5 laps
4. P2 Rusinov/Martin/Conway Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan +13 laps
5. P2 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Morgan-Nissan +14 laps
6. P2 Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan +14 laps
7. P2 Zugel/Jeannette/Wirdheim Greaves Zytek-Nissan +18 laps
8. P2 Nicolet/Merlin/Ihara OAK Morgan-Nissan +21 laps
9. GTE P Bruni/Fisichella AF Ferrari +23 laps
10. GTE P Mucke/Turner Aston Martin +23 laps

24 hours Le Mans: Toyota shines in Le Mans

mansToyota rivalled Audi
Toyota earned a second place at Le Mans 24 Hours after fighting toe to toe with the Audis in a 81st edition that was overshadowed by the death of Allan Simonsen early in the race. At the wheel of the TS030 HYBRID N.8, Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin equalled Japanese giant best finishes in 1992, 1994 and 1999.

The facts
Starting behind the three Audis, the N.8 ran smoothly for 347 laps in French classic. It was not the case for two of the opposition’s cars, overtaken after seven hours before it chased Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval who finally handed Audi its 12th win and a 9th personal success for Danish star, one lap clear. Eleven Safety Car periods and several downpours toughened the race.
A bit lower in the classification, Tristan Gommendy, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues brought Signatech’s Alpine A450 to ninth in LMP2, 35 years after an Alpine triumphed in Le Mans.

The number
27. Hitting nastily the barriers at Tertre Rouge ten minutes into the race on board of the GTE pole-sitter Aston Martin, Allan Simonsen, 34, was the first driver killed during the race since Jo Gartner, 27 years ago. Sebastien Enjolras lost his live in practice in 1997. A saddened Kristensen dedicated his win to his country-mate.

The quote
“I am happy with this result but my dream is to win Le Mans so I am determined we will come back even stronger next year”. Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President, already turns focus to 2014.

The anecdote
Into the final half-hour, Buemi, brought the TS030 HYBRID back on the lead lap before lifting. Three hours earlier, Nicolas Lapierre heavily crashed the N.7 while he was fighting for the podium. Alongside Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima, joined ended up fifth.

Next up
Sao Paulo 6 Hours (1 September)

Classification
1. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 * 348 laps (34 stops)
2. #8 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 * 347 laps (30 stops)
3. #3 Gene/Di Grassi/Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 347 laps (30 stops)
4. #7 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 * 341 laps (29 stops)
5. #1 Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 * 338 laps (32 stops)
6. #21 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka Racing HPD ARX-03c LMP1 * 332 laps (29 stops)
7. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 * 329 laps (30 stops)
8. #24 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 * 328 laps (31 stops)
9. #26 Rusinov/Martin/Conway G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 * 327 laps (32 stops)
10. #42 Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 327 laps (28 stops)

6 hours of SPA: Toyota miss the podium

toyotaGiven its debut at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the 2013-spec Toyota TS030 HYBRID failed to finish but produced a competitive race. Meanwhile the other Japanese prototype narrowly missed out the podium on fourth place.

The facts
2013 car, in the hands of #7 crew Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima had to stop at mid-race, fighting the top five, due to overheating rear brakes. The #8 of Anthony Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastien Buemi ran the distance but could not trouble Audi R18 1-2-3. World champions André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler took the win.

The number
0. The distance covered during the race by Wurz following the #7 early retirement. Austrian had the biggest regrets, especially considering his team mates were on top form. The former F1 driver described Lapierre as “on fire” and Nakajima “super fast”. “Next race 24h LeMans! Car#7 will give it all”, he concluded.

The sentence
“Audi did a great job today, so congratulations to them.” Toyota team president Toyota Yoshiaki Kinoshita acknowledged opposition’s strength and was looking forward next race in Le Mans.

The story
A failure in the recovering energy system was arguably the origin of the #7 retirement. The TS030 HYBRID combines regenerative braking with traditional hydraulic braking and both elements are needed for normal operation. “We are still investigating exactly what caused the problem and it is a priority to address the root cause”, Kinoshita said.
To be continued
24 Hours of Le Mans (France), 22-23 June

Classification
1. P1 Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler Audi 6h00m55.971s
2. P1 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi + 1m05.815s
3. P1 Di Grassi/Gene/Jarvis Audi + 1m54.992s
4. P1 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota + 1 lap
5. P1 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 3 laps
6. P1 Belicchi/Beche/Cheng Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 3 laps
7. P1 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka HPD + 7 laps
8. P2 Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan + 11 laps
9. P2 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan + 11 laps

6 hours of Silverstone: Toyota kicks off with a podium

silverToyota Racing launched their 2013 campaign with taking the front row on Saturday at Silverstone 6 Hours and a podium in the race on Sunday for the No. 8 led by Anthony Davidson, Stéphane Sarrazin and Sebastien Buemi.

The facts
With their R18 e-tron, Audi got few trouble to take a one-two win. The Toyotas TS030 HYBRID ended up one lap further and were left only the new qualification format to shine as their the #7 proved the fastest with Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre, closely followed by the #8. During the race, those positions were swapped and #7 got a strong race to podium finish.

The figure
5 minutes : the time remaining on the clock circuit when Allan McNish snatched the lead to his teammate Benoît Treluyer in Brooklands, having closed a 30-seconds gap in the previous 30 minutes.
Sentence
“That was a tough race and one of the harder podiums of my career.” Exhausted at finish, due to changing weather and tyre problems, Anthony Davidson savoured a deserved third place.

The story
Toyota lined up two 2012-spec versions of their car. The new car hit the track during the next race in Spa. “We are more eager than ever to see what it can do at Spa next time” said team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita.
To be continued
6 Hours of Spa (Belgium), 3-4 May

Classification
1. P1 Kristensen/Duval/Mcnish Audi 197 laps
2. P1 Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler Audi + 3.462s
3. P1 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota + 1 lap
4. P1 Wurz/Lapierre Toyota + 1 lap
5. P1 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 4 laps
6. P1 Belicchi/Beche/Cheng Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 7 laps
7. P2 Graves/Pizzonia/Walker Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan + 13 laps
8. P2 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan + 14 laps
9. P2 Dyson/Marsal/Kimber-Smith Greaves Zytek-Nissan + 18 laps
10. P2 Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan + 18 laps

Enduring the myth

The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) was born in June 2011 to perpetuate the great tradition of a global Endurance Championship. With Le Mans as the climax of a season visiting some of the most prestigious venues in Asia, Europe and America, the WEC also aimed and succeeded in renewing with a popular event.
Brands naturally flocked, as much for the show than for the technical challenge. Endurance races have always been the perfect showcase to prove once reliability, speed and resilience. With environmental issues, another paramount dimension has been added to attract both privateer as well as the biggest carmakers like Toyota and Audi, and Porsche and Nissan in 2014.

Eleven nations

Eleven different nations take place in the 2013 entry list throughout the three classes, LMP1 and LMP2, LMGTE Pro and Am, for the entire season. In the most famous prototype class, Audi took the crown and will be once again the team to beat, but Toyota’s racing duo Nicolas Lapierre and Alex Wurz secured third place in the World Drivers’
Championship by winning the last race of the year in China, adding to the victories they secured in Brazil and Japan, showed they are worth rival. And this season they are set to take part from race one.
“2013 already promises to be even better than 2012 and we look forward to the opening round in April,” said Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s president Pierre Fillon. Now let the engines be fired up.

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