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Live Blog – 6 Hours of Fuji

Posted by: on October 17th, 2013 1 Comment

TOYOTA Racing comes home

This weekend, TOYOTA Racing heads to Japan for the team’s home race where the #7 car was victorious 12 months ago. With the home crowd cheering the team on, TOYOTA Racing is again aiming for the top step of the podium. Follow our live race coverage throughout the race weekend after the break.

 

 

 

 

 

- Preview
- Road to Fuji
- On-board with Anthony
- Free Practice 1
- Free Practice 2
- Free Practice 3
- Qualifying
- Race
- Race Highlights
- Twitter Updates


Preview

Updated: 17/10/13 12:00 CET

Mount Fuji

The sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championships sees the paddock head to the Land of the Rising Sun at the 4.563km Fuji International Speedway. The track layout is made up of 16 corners (6 right, 10 left) of which our drivers have four chances to use the 300hp hybrid boost of the TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing powertrain (developed at Toyota’s Higashifuji Technical Centre just 20km from the track).

Teams arrived at the circuit on the foothills of Mount Fuji as one of the strongest typhoons to hit the region in recent years was at its peak earlier this week. The team arrived safely as the storm started to diminish and is downgraded to a tropical storm.

For the first race since TOYOTA Racing picked up 2nd and 4th at Le Mans, both cars will be taking to the track. The #7 crew of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima return to defend their crown after last year’s thrilling race while the sister #8 TS030 HYBRID of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin completes a strong entry at the Fuji race.

“I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel again; it’s much more fun to be racing the TS030 HYBRID than watching it on TV. Fuji is an important race for the team as there are a lot of TOYOTA employees and fans, so it is always a busy weekend. It’s hard for me to predict how the race weekend will go but we will give it our best to defend last year’s victory despite the strong competition we can expect. Certainly there will be a lot of work for us to do in the first practice sessions to get familiar with the updated post-Le Mans package and to optimise it for Fuji. I’m ready for the challenge and ready to race.”
- Alex

 

“Fuji last year was one of my best memories so I’m really fired up to get back in the car this weekend. It’s great to be working with Alex and Kazuki again after quite a break since Le Mans. We have a great relationship so I’m sure everything will fall into place very quickly. I’m quite impatient to get behind the wheel of the TS030 HYBRID again and experience the high-downforce package for the first time at a race weekend. I’m expecting a busy weekend and we need to be on top form to challenge for victory; we showed last year what is possible so I am optimistic.”
- Nicolas

 

“I have some great memories of Fuji last year, especially because it was my first FIA world championship race win. It is a circuit I know really well from my Super GT and Super Formula racing, and it’s one of my favourite tracks. It has been a long time since Le Mans but I have had plenty of racing since then so I am ready for the weekend and I’m looking forward to working with the TOYOTA Racing team again. This will be my first time to drive the high-downforce package and I am interested to see what it can do. It’s always a challenge to fight with Audi but I hope we can have another exciting race.”

- Kazuki

 

“I’m expecting a very special atmosphere at Fuji. The circuit has a lot of history but since the upgrade it is now a modern track which is good for racing. It is challenging for drivers so I can’t wait to experience an LMP1 car there for the first time. For me the fans are particularly special in Japan and you feel very proud to be driving for a Japanese manufacturer when you see the support they give. We were part of a very close battle in Austin and it was very satisfying to be challenging again. The high-downforce package has been working well in its two races so far so hopefully we can again fight at the front.”
- Anthony

 

“I have never raced at Fuji but I did drive the medical car there in 2008 for the Japanese Grand Prix. From that experience I could learn a bit about the track; it is very technical and you need experience to get the best out of it. It certainly looks like a fun track to race on so I am looking forward to the weekend. I think we will have a fantastic atmosphere; the Japanese fans are really enthusiastic and you really feel the support they give. It’s amazing and I expect it will be extra special as a Toyota driver. Obviously I hope we can deliver a good result; we were close in Austin but we want more in Fuji.”
- Sébastien

 

“I know Fuji from racing LMP2 there last year and I really enjoy the track; it is nicely balanced between fast and slow corners and it’s quite tricky for the drivers. I’m particularly excited to experience the track at the wheel of the TS030 HYBRID and driving for TOYOTA Racing. What I saw of the team’s fans last year was incredible. It felt like everyone was supporting the team and wearing the TOYOTA Racing colours. It gives us a real boost to see such great support. So I am expecting a memorable experience and our target is obviously to give the fans a result to celebrate.”
- Stéphane

 

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Road to Fuji

Updated: 17/10/13 13:00 CET

Follow the TS030 HYBRID’s journey from Narita Airport to Fuji Speedway.

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On-board with Anthony

Updated: 17/10/13 12:00 CET

Take a ride around Fuji Speedway with Anthony Davidson on Toyota Motorsport GmbH‘s state-of-the-art driving simulator.

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Free Practice 1 – Friday, October 18

Updated: 18/10/13 14:45 CET

TOYOTA Racing leads FP1

The first track action started at Fuji Speedway under pleasant conditions (air temp: 15°C, track temp 19°C). Both cars went out for installation laps before Nicolas and Sébastien took to the track for longer runs.

15 minutes into the session, contact between Audi #2 and Aston Martin #95 brought out the red flag as the championship leading #2 suffered heavy damage.

When the session restarted, our cars were P2 and P4, less than half a second off the lead.

Alex and Anthony took over in their respective cars around halfway through the 1.5 hour session.

Car #8 finished the session in P1 with Anthony setting the fastest time of the session with 1:28.325, completing 39 laps, while the sister #7 finished in P4 with Alex setting the fastest time of 1:28.962 completing 35 laps.

Update 14:45 CET: Anthony’s P1 time from FP1 was disqualified by stewards for exceeding pit speed limit. Car #8′s official FP1 time is now 1:28.777 in P3.

Free Practice 2 starts at 15:30 local (08:30 CET).

Both cars in Japan

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Free Practice 2 – Friday, October 18

Updated: 18/10/13 14:00 CET

The second session of the day started promptly at 15:30 local time with conditions similar to FP1. Both TS030 HYBRIDs left the lefts as the pit lane opened with Nicolas behind the wheel of car #7 and Stéphane in the #8. Of the top four runners, only our cars and one of the two Audis were running – after the heavy contact suffered by the #2 Audi in FP1 requiring repairs.

Our cars jostled for the P2 and P3 positions throughout the session with each other. Kazuki took over from Nicolas to get behind the wheel of the TS030 HYBRID for the first time since Le Mans in June.

With around 40 minutes remaining in the session, Stéphane moved to P2 to go below 1min28sec for the first time with Sébastien taking over the #8 car on lap 33.

Kazuki set a 1:27.981 on lap 40 to bring gap to leader down to just 0.1sec.

Today’s track action ended with our #8 TS030 HYBRID in P3 with 1:27.977 (+0.644sec) after 52 laps, followed by the #7 in P4 with 1:27.981 (+0.648sec) after 47 laps.

Free Practice 3 starts tomorrow at 09:30 local time (02:30 CET), followed by Qualifying for LMP1 and LMP2 at 13:55 local time (06:55 CET).

 

“It was an interesting day running through different programmes with the two cars. We can make progress faster than with only one car; that is another good aspect of having both cars here. The circuit changed throughout the day in terms of grip and car balance. We have to look at the data and work out a good set-up tomorrow. We are in a tough competition as we are very tight on the lap times.”
- Alex

 

“It was good to be back behind the wheel today. The team did a good job with the two cars trying different things and we got some interesting data. The long runs went well and the pace seems very close between the two Toyotas and two Audis so we can expect a close race. Qualifying could be tough but in the race we should be in a better position. It looks promising; so far, so good.”
- Nicolas

 

“It is nice to drive the car for the first time since Le Mans and it’s also the home race for us so I am very motivated. In the morning I drove only two laps and the balance needed improvement. We did some set-up work over lunch and we got a lot closer to where we want to be. We still have room for improvement but I am sure we can do another step for tomorrow.”
- Kazuki

 

“It was a good day today; the car was performing well in both sessions. We chased the circuit as it evolved and the day progressed; we will look at the data and further improve the set-up overnight. Hopefully it will stay dry because it seems we are pretty competitive. So I am quite happy and hopefully we can make the car even better for tomorrow.”
- Anthony

 

“It was a positive session for us because we seem to be quite competitive compared to the Audis. As our home event, this is an important race for us so we are focusing as much as possible on the performance and the race set-up. We are quite confident we can have a good race. Now we just need to analyse the data and make sure we get the most out of the car.”
- Sébastien

 

“I am happy with the car after today’s two practice sessions; we have a good balance. I did a long run which went well. We still need to find some improvements and we will be working on that in the morning before qualifying. But we have a good feeling with the car and the battle is very close. It will be an exciting race for sure, which is nice for the Japanese fans.”
- Stéphane

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Free Practice 3 – Saturday, October 19

Updated: 19/10/13 11:30 CET

The morning’s session started at a cool Fuji Speedway with air temperature around 13°C, track temperature at 16°C and 78% humidity although the session remained dry.

Alex was first behind the wheel of the #7 car while Stéphane took the #8 car out on track for the pre-Qualifying practice session. Both cars were doing consistent 1min28sec lap times.

10 minutes into the hour long session and both drivers vacated their cars to hand over to Kazuki and Sébastien for their turns in the driver seat. Local hero Kazuki in the #7 quickly got up to speed and laid down a 1:27.211 time on his fourth lap which remained unbeaten through the remainder of the session leading #2 Audi by 0.146sec. Nicolas took to the track to end the session in the #7 car.

In the #8 car, Sébastien was quick as well putting in the car’s best time of the session on lap 20 with a 1:27.536 before handing the car over to Anthony who drove to the the chequered flag to end the session.

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Qualifying – Saturday, October 19

Updated: 19/10/13 11:30 CET

We will start our home race tomorrow with two cars in the top three of the grid after a close qualifying session.

The #8 of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin was just 0.178secs away from pole position as it took second with a 1:26.755 average lap time, while the #7 of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima was close behind in third, 0.283secs off with an average lap time of 1:26.860.

This season’s qualifying format requires two drivers from each car to set a minimum of two flying laps each. The grid is decided by the combined average of each driver’s fastest two laps.

Kazuki took the wheel of the #7 for the start of qualifying, completing two incredibly consistent flying laps, within 0.001secs of each other, before handing over to Nicolas.

Sébastien was the opening driver for #8 before Anthony took the second stint, keeping up the pressure on pole position.

Although all sessions so far have taken place in dry conditions, forecasts suggest a high chance of rain for tomorrow’s race, which begins at 11:00 local time (04:00 CET).

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Race – Sunday, October 20

Updated: 20/10/13 13:45 CET

The 6 Hours of Fuji started behind the safety car with heavy rain falling over the circuit. Our second place starting #8 car missed the pit exit this morning by just one second before it closed, meaning it had to start from the pit lane with one lap down.

Just short of 20 minutes into the race, the Race Director decided to suspend the race with red flags as cars were aquaplaning behind the safety car.

Race Control just confirmed conditions remain unchanged and not safe enough to restart. Next update scheduled for 13:00 local (06:00 CET).

The race will restart at 13:30 local (06:30 CET) behind Safety Car, however a fog is starting to come down over Fuji Speedway… And the rain is starting to come back down as this update is written.

We had another eight laps behind the Safety Car before the race was suspended again as the weather conditions deteriorated again. All cars have returned to the pit straight under parc fermé conditions while we wait for the next update from the Race Director at 14:30 local (07:30 CET).

No change in conditions, Race Director will review conditions and update at 15:00 local (08:00 CET).

Race Control will update again at 15:30 local (08:30 CET), although the rain seems to have eased but a wispy fog is move across parts of the track.

After the third restart at Fuji Speedway at 15:35 local time, the race was called off before the cars completed what would have been the 17th lap. Kazuki parks the #7 TS030 HYBRID in parc fermé to collect the team’s first victory this season at a weather affected, and rather strange, race meeting.

TWO CARS FOR TOYOTA RACING IN CHINA

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Race Highlights

Updated: 20/10/13 22:45 CET

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Live Coverage on @Toyota_Hybrid Twitter


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One Comment

  1. What a shame that weather conditions did not allow any true racing, I was looking forward to this race.
    Anyway, got to respect mother nature.

    The best of luck in Shanghai.