TOYOTA Racing picked up a solid third place podium finish at the season opening 6 Hours of Silverstone race today. Starting from the front row of the grid, both cars led into the first corner in formation. Despite a promising start to the race weekend, we fell back to P3 and P4 during the opening stint, keeping status quo until the end of the race. Race report after the break.
We arrived to a very windy Silverstone circuit this morning. The skies seemed a lot friendlier than the last few days. First drivers in the cars were Alex Wurz in #7 and Anthony Davidson in #8. Both cars led the field in formation following their strong qualifying performance yesterday.
Running wide into Club Corner on lap 6 saw car #7 lose its lead. When the positions finally settled, we were P3 with the #8 car and P4 with the #7 car as the track temperatures didn’t suit the chosen Michelin tyre compound.
The unpredictable weather conditions in Northamptonshire played its part which ended up with the lead being changed 14 times over the full race distance. Our cars returned to the lead a few times when the leading Audis pitted for fuel and tyres.
The heavens did eventually open on lap 73. Nicolas Lapierre, who took over the helm in the #7 car at this point, called for intermediate tyres which turned out not to be the ideal choice. Coming back again for slicks meant car #7 was two pit stops up on car #8.
At half race distance, our cars had completed 97 laps with Stéphane Sarrazin in car #8 in third and Nico running a long stint in #7 in fourth.
Sébastien Buemi took over from Stéphane just after half distance in the #8 car. Alex took over from Nico to start his final stint in the #7 car. Both cars switched tyre compounds which better suited the track conditions. Both cars were putting in 1:44s and 1:45s, showing stronger race pace.
Despite the lap time improvements, the gap was too big to close on the leaders.
Track positions remained the same until the end of the race. Anthony returned to take over the helm of the #8 car for the final stretch of the race, continuing to set quick lap times.
The chequered flag fell at 18:00 GMT with the #8 car picking up TOYOTA Racing’s first podium of the season in third, followed by the #7 car in fourth, both a lap down from the leaders.
Updated 16/4/2013: Race highlight video
Driver Diary with third place finisher Stéphane:
Our drivers reflect on today’s session:
Thank you to all our fans for messages of support throughout the race weekend, as well as everyone who followed our race coverage. We’ll be back for Round 2 of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship season at Spa-Francorchamps on May 4.
Photo gallery from Sunday. For our full Friday gallery in high resolution click here