28 April 2014
Toyota targets ‘home’ win to bolster WEC lead
Toyota will be looking to repeat its Silverstone 1-2 result when the WEC rocks up at Spa this weekend.
Toyota Racing makes the short journey to the Ardennes this weekend, looking for another strong performance in the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship to add to its 1-2 at Silverstone.
The Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will welcome a buoyant Toyota squad, following a highly-successful debut for the new TS040 Hybrid and team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita sees no reason why the Cologne-based operation cannot target another strong result in Belgium, despite the presence of both Porsche and Audi.
“Along with Fuji Speedway, Spa is a home race for us, so we are very motivated to get a result for all our employees and fans that will be there supporting us,” he said, “I am sure it will be another exciting race after such a close and unpredictable battle throughout the weekend at Silverstone. This is great for the championship and exactly what the fans and teams want to see.
“We had a very successful event at Silverstone, but Spa is another race, so we have to give everything to extract the maximum performance and continue the successful start to the season. We are motivated and ready to push.”
Once again, the #7 car will be piloted by Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima, with Silverstone race winners Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi sharing the #8.
“Before Silverstone, it was difficult to know how competitive each of the cars would be,” Buemi admitted, “Now we know our TS040 Hybrid has the performance to win races, but our competitors are very close.
“This makes it really exciting for the fans and quite challenging for the team, but we like this kind of competition and we're giving our maximum effort to win again this weekend. It's always a special experience to be driving at Spa and, if we see the same kind of overtaking as we did at Silverstone, it will be a fantastic spectacle.”
Wurz agreed that the opening round of the 2014 WEC had been a major boost for the Toyota team.
“Silverstone was an important step for the team, not just because we got the result but because we could learn more about the TS040 Hybrid and how to get the best out of it,” he confirmed, “This new generation of LMP1 cars are very complex, so there's a lot of work to do during a race weekend.
“With all on-track activities squeezed into two days at Spa, it will be a very intense time for the team. We need to focus and take our time to get everything right so we can fight at the front. We will have a lot of fans and TMG members at Spa so we will push like crazy to give them a result to celebrate.”
As expected, each of the six-man crew is excited at the prospect of racing at one of the world's greatest circuits – even if some focus will inevitably fall on the next, and biggest, event on the schedule.
“I am a big fan of Spa and I even raced there at the 24 hours last year just for fun, so I can't wait to be there again, especially with a car like the TS040 Hybrid,” Lapierre concluded, “I expect it will be a great experience.
“This is the last race for everyone before Le Mans, so it is an important weekend and we want to not only get a good result but also get ourselves ready for June. It was great for me to win my first race with the #8 crew; now I am determined to experience this feeling again. It's going to be another hard battle but I am ready.”
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