Toyota Racing completed its first long-distance endurance test during a three-day session at Paul Ricard in France last week.
In just its second full test, and its third time on track including a roll-out, the TS030 Hybrid was faced with the tough challenge of a 30-hour endurance run. The long-distance test began on Thursday afternoon following initial sessions to evaluate various performance developments.
Sebastien Buemi, in his first test as an official Toyota Racing driver, started the marathon session, followed by his team-mate in car #8 at Le Mans, Hiroaki Ishiura. Car #7 team-mates Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima also took turns behind the wheel of the Toyota TS030 Hybrid.
“The test has been interesting and we have gained valuable experience,” Wurz said. “In terms of development, we continue to optimize the interaction between all components, including the hybrid system. As a result, the car is progressing.
“During our endurance test we did encounter some issues but that is why we are testing. The team sprit here at Toyota Racing is really strong and it has again been a pleasure to work with the guys; we know and understand each other better and better with each day. I would say I am generally pleased with this test.”
“Overall the test was good,” Nakajima added. “It was the first time for me to participate in an endurance test and it allowed us to prepare in circumstances much closer to race conditions. This meant running in some very cold conditions but even then the car and tyres were working well.
“I did a lot of stints so I was really busy and we put plenty of mileage on the car. We have a sound basis and the car shows good potential but we now need to work on the details and develop some areas. We are on the right track and things continue to go well.”
The test ended with Toyota Racing having apparently achieved its 'primary goal of completing a significant number of laps to evaluate the car over very long distances'.
“We have done some valuable tests and this has contributed to our ongoing development of performance, reliability and organisation,” summarised technical director, Pascal Vasselon. “The endurance test was an interesting experience; we were expecting challenges for everyone in the team and we weren't disappointed!
“It's not easy on the car or the people but we are all passionate about this project so a strong team spirit saw us through to the end. We are content with the results and the conclusions we have been able to draw, which will accelerate our preparations for our first race.”
Toyota will now concentrate on preparing an updated package for the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, its first race of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship season. The next tests are scheduled for April.