The Toyota Gazoo Racing Team, basked in their successful lead during the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship at this weekends pre-season Prologue event in the South of France, Paul Ricard circuit. Combined, the two Toyota TS050 Hybrid race cars completed a distance of more than 3,600 miles a total of 1,002 laps.
Mike Conway, José María López, Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Alex Wurz all had their turn behind the wheel. Covering 839 laps between them in the #7 car, which ran for the full 30 hours from Friday morning to Saturday afternoon. The team will also be utilising the low-downforce specification at their first race of the year at Spa-Francorchamps on 5 May.
Focusing on the reliability of components and the fine-tuning of team procedures, in the event of unexpected problems occurring during the main event. Simulation of technical problems enabled mechanics, engineers and drivers to practise parts changes and procedures for returning the car to the pits.
Completing more than 160 laps specifically to enable evaluations of the tyres and overall configuration.The #8 car ran during the daytime sessions in a high-downforce set-up, simulating the set-up used to win last season’s 6 Hours race, Bahrain.
Conway said: “It’s been good to not only get on track with our two cars and two packages, but also with the competition so we can get used to driving in traffic again. It has been really productive in terms of the programmes we wanted to get through so everyone is feeling positive. We feel pretty well prepared for Spa and Le Mans.”
The Prologue event saw the majority of this season’s teams taking to the track. Including the new, non-hybrid cars that the Toyota’s will be set against in the LMP1 category – which entries will benefit from 69% more fuel and other additional technical advantages.
Race drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Kazuki Nakajima had alternative racing commitments in the Super GT, Japan and so were absent from the Prologue. Whilst Fernando Alonso was participating in Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
With the pre-season testing programme now complete, all efforts are turning towards the opening race of the season. Overall, the team has made important progress in their preparations for this new WEC season.