History in the making at Le Mans
A new chapter in Toyota Racing’s history was written today. Only a small one, which will hopefully be eclipsed by longer, champagne-stained chapters in the coming years but a significant one nonetheless.
Today the TS030 HYBRID drove at Le Mans for the first time – and it went well. Not only did one car drive, this time there were two; another first for the team and a great reward after some Herculean effort from the production and workshop teams back at the Toyota Motorsport GmbH base.
Despite the tight deadlines to build and assemble the #8 car before this test, the morning started without any last-minute stress and both cars were ready to roll when the lights turned green at 9:00 AM.
The first target was to achieve the mandatory 10 laps for Le Mans rookies Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi. With the TS030 HYBRIDs running reliably, that was achieved without difficulty.
Indeed, the only significant variable to come into play was the weather, with frequent rain showers making conditions tricky at times for the drivers. But while some other notable cars found the barriers, the TOYOTA Racing drivers piloted a safe course.
By the end of the day there were handshakes all round and plenty of smiles at achieving a day of essentially trouble-free running with the two cars whilst displaying encouraging performance.
Of course, as with everything connected to the Le Mans 24 Hours, the track action is only part of the story and there were plenty of activities during the weekend to interest media and fans.
Photo shoots of the cars on the grid really brought home the unique atmosphere of Le Mans, not to mention the weight of history which goes with participation in the legendary race, the 80th this year.
One small piece of that history is the annual media and drivers kart race, where the professionals and amateurs paired up for a fun race which inevitably drawing out competitive spirits. Hopefully it’s a good sign for the future that our very own Anthony Davidson won on his first outing…
Speaking of first outings, the TS030 HYBRIDs – as well as the team – were decked out in blue livery and outfits for the first time this year. Of course, blue and white was a fixture for TOYOTA at Le Mans in the 1980s and 1990s, with a TS010 sporting those colours finishing second in 1992.
This time around we want to highlight the hybrid system at the heart of the TS030 HYBRID. We certainly turned a few heads and created a few surprised double-takes but that only adds to the fun of Le Mans 2012.
With the big race just two weeks away, we really can’t wait!
Photo gallery from the weekend