Toyota Gazoo Racing resumes its World Endurance Championship campaign with the 6 Hours of Silverstone this weekend, the first outing since winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
The #8 car that was driven to the historic victory by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso has been retired from competition. It now has special status in Toyota’s motorsport history and has been preserved in its end-of-race condition. Toyota president Akio Toyoda recently viewed the car when he travelled to Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Cologne base to personally congratulate team members.
Inspired by the reaction to Le Mans success, the team is targeting another positive weekend at Silverstone and looking to maintain its 100% record this season with another one-two finish from pole position and a sixth consecutive WEC win.
British driver Mike Conway is keen for success at his home race in the calendar: “I can’t wait to get back racing,” he said. “It was a nice break after Le Mans but I’m ready to go now. It’s a bit different racing at home because I have friends and family coming to watch me race, which is nice as there are not many chances for them. The target for Silverstone is of course another one-two victory, and I hope the #7 will be on top. Competition will be tougher but hopefully we still have an edge.”
Conway will feature in the familiar #7 car line-up alongside Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.
Toyota has finished on the podium at Silverstone every year since returning to the championship in 2012, including two victories. The team will have to re-learn some aspects of the circuit, which has been completely resurfaced since the 2017 race.
Toyota has finished on the podium at Silverstone every year since returning to the championship in 2012, including two victories.
The weekend will see the first appearance this season of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid in high-downforce specification, which delivers more grip in corners at the expense of top speed on the straights. The configuration is better suited to the demands of the UK circuit with its sweeping, high-speed corners.
The challenge from the six non-hybrid LMP1 class cars will be stronger, following updates to equivalency regulations designed to give them stronger performance. They will benefit from increased fuel flow, now 43.75% more than the Toyotas. Some will also benefit from a reduction in minimum weight requirements.
The Silverstone programme begins with free practice sessions this Friday, followed by qualifying on Saturday. The race will get under way at noon on Sunday.