Toyota Gazoo Racing will be competing on home ground this weekend when the World Endurance Championship makes its annual trip to Japan for the 6 Hours of Fuji.
The seventh round of the season will take place at the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway, just a few miles from the Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre, where the 1,000hp racing hybrid system used by the team is developed and built.
Toyota approaches its home race in positive mood following another podium finish and close fight for victory at the last race, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi in the #6 TS050 Hybrid were part of a three-way battle for a win that day and are looking to reclaim second place in the drivers world championship at Fuji.
Conway said: “Fuji is one of my favourite races because the fans are so special. Racing in Japan as a Toyota driver is a great experience. I’m feeling positive about this weekend because we have made big progress since Nürburgring and I think Fuji could be another step again. I’ve enjoyed being on the podium in the last two races so I want to be back there again on Sunday.”
Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima have endured an unfortunate season so far, but travel to Japan aiming to challenge for success in the #5 car.
Toyota has a strong record at its home circuit, having won three successive races at Fuji Speedway between 2012 and 2014, making it the team’s most successful venue on the WEC calendar. Having secured podium finishes in four of the six races so far this season, a return to winning ways is top of the agenda this weekend.
The track, located about 65 miles from Tokyo has evolved significantly since it opened in 1965. Today, its most striking feature is the main straight, which at 1,475m is the second longest among the circuits visited by the WEC. Combined with a particularly tight and twisty final sector of the lap, this presents engineers and drivers with a challenge to find the best compromise on car set-up.
Race preparations will begin on Friday with two 90-minute practice sessions, followed by a short qualifying session on Saturday. The race will get under way at 11:00am local time (3:00am UK time) on Sunday.