WEC 2021: Toyota takes first victory with new hypercar Car News

Toyota’s new GR010 Hybrid clinched the victory in its first outing in the Six Hours of the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship season, although several technical issues and pressure from rivals mean things don’t. were not easy for the new challenger of Le Mans Hypercar (LMH).

The event on the Belgian circuit was the first race with the class of high-end prototypes operating under the new LMH rules, designed to reduce speeds and reduce costs compared to previous LMP1 regulations. Toyota was the only manufacturer to have their LMH car event ready, with opposition coming from the LMP1 A480-Gibson machine acquired by Alpine and top LMP2 contenders.

The Toyota crew of reigning WEC champions Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez set the tone in qualifying, but a series of technical issues during the race saw Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley claim victory in the other GR010. Hybrid.

Here is what we learned.

Toyota has yet to master the hybrid GR010

Considering this is an entirely new car built for a whole new set of regulations, it was understandable that Toyota suffered a number of issues with its pair of GR010 hybrids – and even if it did. was clearly the team to beat, Toyota had the chance to leave Belgium with a first and third place.

Conway led the way from the start of the No.7 Toyota, but the car’s victory ended when a brake issue caused Kobayashi to take off with two hours of racing to go, with the car losing a lot of time to be saved from the gravel. A driving penalty for contact with a GT car further hampered the recovery effort.

Buemi, Nakajima and Hartley’s No.8 Toyota also had issues, including a 30-second penalty for a pitstop violation. This allowed the unique Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrao and Matthieu Vaxiverve to remain in contention, but it ultimately did not keep pace with the LMH Toyota class.

Balancing performance will be a topic of discussion

Officials use performance balancing rules to equalize the pace of new LMH cars such as the Toyota with the grandfathered LMP1 class Alpine, and performance checks are in place for second tier LMP2 cars as well. Spa has shown that this will likely remain a topic of discussion throughout the season, especially if Toyota finds itself consistently beaten by second-tier private cars.

In the pre-event test and practice sessions at Spa, the LMP2 cars fought – and beat – the first-class Toyota and Alpine, and while the LMH machines were clear in the race, the car between the two divisions left little behind. margin. for error.

Another topic of discussion will likely be the pace of LMP2-winning United Autosports Oreca-Gibson, Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque and Fabio Scherer. In a class renowned for its competitiveness, the defending champions were clearly the class of the peloton and held a good lead for much of the race en route to class honors and fourth overall.

Porsche dominates in GTE Pro

Kevin Estre and Neel Jani’s Porsche 911 RSR dominated in the GTE Pro class, qualifying on pole and leading in a small field of just five cars.

It was the second consecutive WEC Spa victory for the Porsche GT team, and a strong comeback in WEC for Jani, who last raced full time in the class for the Porsche LMP1 team. in 2016. The Swiss driver was part of Le Mans. winning crew that year.

Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado finished second in their class in their AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.

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This notice was published: 2021-05-02 16:44:19