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Wurz, Lapierre and Nakajima – Q&A

20 February 2013

Alex Wurz:

Q:
How was your first season with Toyota Racing?

Alex Wurz:
My first season with Toyota Racing was fantastic; we exceeded our expectations for our debut year in WEC. But that was only the first step and we must now improve everything to become a clear number one in endurance racing. Last season was very encouraging and showed we absolutely have the potential to win Le Mans and the world championship if we get everything right. But we cannot be over confident; we still face a huge challenge and we need to perform at the highest level to achieve our goals.

Q:
What are your expectations of the revised TS030 HYBRID?

Alex Wurz:
In the second half of last year we were the fastest car on the grid; we know Audi will not stand still so we need to continue pushing and increasing our performance level. I'm really looking forward to racing with the updated car. The guys have worked incredibly hard to fine-tune everything and we can feel a definite improvement. So I am expecting this year's car to be even faster and we need to work hard to get the most out of the package.

Q:
What are your expectations for 2013?

Alex Wurz:
I expect a tough battle with Audi but I expect TOYOTA Racing to be extremely competitive. We have a chance to achieve something really significant and we are highly motivated to take that chance. I think it will be an exciting season for the fans; it's fantastic to have two manufacturers fighting so closely at such a high performance level and I believe this will help the WEC establish itself as a home of real racing.

Nicolas Lapierre:

Q:
After a development season for the team in 2012, what are your thoughts looking ahead to 2013?

Nicolas Lapierre:
It was a big challenge for Toyota Racing to be ready in time to race in 2012, as that was not the original plan. But the team stepped up really impressively and maybe we even surprised ourselves at how competitive we were from the beginning. We made a lot of progress and this sets us up well for 2013, when our dream will be to win Le Mans and the WEC.

Q:
How big a challenge does Toyota Racing face in 2013?

Nicolas Lapierre:
It will not be easy to achieve our targets, we know that. But our car showed great performance last season and the designers have worked hard to find even more speed. So we have a good opportunity and we need to keep pushing through the winter to be ready to win from Silverstone onwards. Audi is a very strong competitor which we cannot under-estimate, therefore we will be giving it everything.

Q:
What are you expecting from the 2013-spec TS030 HYBRID?

Nicolas Lapierre:
The TS030 HYBRID was already a really impressive car but as a racing driver you always want more of everything; more power, more grip, more speed! To succeed in motorsport you need to constantly develop, which is what we did last year by looking at all details and trying to get the maximum out of the car. From what I have seen so far, the updated car looks like another step forward so I expect to be impressed again.

Kazuki Nakajima:

Q:
How much progress did Toyota Racing make during 2012?

Kazuki Nakajima:
When I first visited Cologne after the WEC project was announced, only the monocoque had been produced. To go from that point to winning races within less than a year was significant progress. But it was not only the car which developed; there is a great team spirit within Toyota Racing which has grown and strengthened since we all worked together at the first test in January 2012. This gives us the foundations for a big push in 2013.

Q:
How much did you personally develop last season?

Kazuki Nakajima:
Last season was incredible for me. Throughout my career my goal has been to win an FIA world championship race, so to do this in a Toyota in front of our home fans at Fuji Speedway was emotional. Competing at Le Mans and experiencing this incredible race was also great, especially as I was following in my father's footsteps. It was a really busy year for me but I was proud to end it by winning the WEC race at Fuji and also winning the Formula Nippon championship.

Q:
What are your thoughts about Le Mans and the WEC after your first experiences?

Kazuki Nakajima:
I had an amazing year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of racing at Le Mans and in WEC for the first time. The level is extremely high and the competition is very close, as we saw at Fuji when we won by only 11 seconds after six hours of racing. It's been a new and interesting challenge to drive an LMP1 car for the first time but I've loved every minute of it.


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