Toyota Gazoo Racing says it is playing catch up to its German LMP1 rivals at the end of the official Le Mans test day after finishing off the pace.

The defending World Endurance Champions enjoyed a solid day of running at Circuit de la Sarthe in mixed weather conditions but ended the test trailing the Porsche and Audi machines on the timesheets.

Toyota's number one TS040 Hybrid machine, co-driven by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, finished the test seventh overall and over four seconds behind timesheet toppers Porsche. The sister Toyota car finished eighth, a further five seconds down.

Team president Toshio Sato says he's satisfied with the team's development and reliability in the wet and dry conditions but feels they now must concentrate on cutting the gap in outright performance to its LMP1 competitors.

"Both cars ran very reliably which is a positive sign for the race but we need to find more performance in dry conditions," Sato said. "With so little dry running, it is hard to draw conclusions looking only at the classifications but we got a lot of data which will help us to come back well prepared for the race."

Reigning World Endurance Champions Buemi and Davidson, who finished third at Le Mans last year, backed-up their president's comments and will use this week to study the data to find inroads into the performance gap.

"It's a test day so we tried to do as much as possible to be ready for the race week. Clearly the lap times are not as quick as we want to be," Buemi said.

"Looking at the timesheets, we have work to do to improve," Davidson added. "It's a different situation to last year so we have to get our heads down and see what we can do."

On a positive note for Toyota co-driver Nakajima has demonstrated he has fully recovered from a back injury sustained at Spa-Francorchamps last month and is able to race at Le Mans in two weeks time.

The Japanese driver collided with an Audi during a wet practice session at the second round of the World Endurance Championship, breaking a vertebra in his lower back which ruled him out of competing at Spa.

It had been feared Nakajima would also be ruled out of Le Mans but he has made a remarkable recovery over the past four weeks and proved he is fit to race.

"It was great to be back in the car, especially here in Le Mans," Nakajima said. "I didn't have any problems and I feel I'm in good condition. It was a good first day of driving after the accident at Spa and it showed I can drive at the same level as before."



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