Toy­ota buoyed by strong WEC race pace

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

For­mer World En­durance Cham­pion An­thony David­son’s hopes of a first Le Mans vic­tory have been boosted by the show­ing of the new Toy­ota TS050 HY­BRID at Spa last week­end.

Af­ter a dire sea­son in 2015, when Toy­ota was well off the pace set by Porsche and Audi, the #5 Toy­ota shared by David­son, Se­bastien Buemi and Kazuki Naka­jima, led the Spa 6 Hours com­fort­ably and only lost vic­tory when its new 2.4-litre di­rect in­jec­tion twin­turbo V6 en­gine, de­vel­oped to re­place the old nor­mally as­pi­rated V8 unit, failed.

De­spite the dis­ap­point­ment, the Spa per­for­mance sug­gests Toy­ota can at least be in the mix for vic­tory at Le Mans af­ter only be­ing able to fin­ish a dis­tant sixth last year.

“There are al­ready good signs we will be more com­pet­i­tive at Le Mans,” David­son said. “Whether we can win the race on merit on pure speed we will see, but I’m 100 per cent con­fi­dent we will be much bet­ter than last year. And hope­fully there is still more to come from this car.”

The Toy­ota was run­ning in its reg­u­lar aero­dy­namic con­fig­u­ra­tion at Spa, whereas Audi and Porsche both used Le Mans-spec­i­fi­ca­tion low-down-force. Al­though Toy­ota did have the Le Mans-spec avail­able, it de­cided the reg­u­lar one would be more com­pet­i­tive.

David­son is con­fi­dent the change to the pow­er­train has sig­nif­i­cantly boosted the car’s pace. The step up to the top level of hy­brid sys­tem, the 8MJ class, has been made pos­si­ble by the switch from a su­per­ca­pac­i­tor-based sys­tem to one us­ing lithium-ion bat­ter­ies.

“We have got to be rel­a­tively happy with what short a time­frame we had to de­sign and de­velop this car, par­tic­u­larly the pow­er­train side of things,” said David­son.

“We’ve got to be pleased by where we have got to. We are not quite there yet and we can still ex­tract more per­for­mance.”

The TS050 led dur­ing WEC Spa

David­son: signs are good

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