Driver interview with Alex Wurz
As Friday’s Toyota Racing press conference, Toyota TS030 HYBRID car #7 driver Alex Wurz - former F1 driver and two time Le Mans winner – gave us some of his time to explore yet another insight into the team’s current progress after a very impressive qualifying result for the team’s first time out – 3rd and 5th on the start grid. Interview in full after the break.
Kazuki put in a great lap yesterday to bring car #7 up to P5. What are your thoughts on yesterday’s qualifying session?
I’m really pleased with the result. It was really close and Kazuki did a fantastic job. He was affected by traffic during his last lap so I’m sure he could have achieved an even better lap time. Nevertheless, it’s a great result and we’re very satisfied.
You spoke about traffic during qualifying. Will traffic also make things difficult during the race?
Yes it will, but during the race, it’s the same for everybody. You will have some stints where you are lucky and the traffic plays out well, but there are also stints where you are unlucky with traffic. When you’re in sports car racing, you learn to read the race and wait for the key moments when to take risks and when to be patient.
For races in other formulas, qualifying positions can mean winning or not winning the race. Is it important to be at the front, or as close as possible to the front of the grid for an endurance race?
Statistics of the Le Mans race say that the car on pole is less likely to win the race. But, of course, statistics don’t always tell the truth. When I won at Le Mans, I didn’t start from the front row either.
You didn’t participate in the qualifying yesterday, Nicolas and Kazuki shared the track time between them, but you will start the race tomorrow in the #7 car. What’s the strategy behind this?
We decided to limit my number of laps during qualifying to allow Kazuki to drive more laps since he is the rookie in the driver line-up of our car. At Le Mans, it’s not such an exception that you split the qualifying and the first stint of the race among the drivers. I’m quite confident to take the first stint on Saturday.