Podium finish for TOYOTA Racing at Silverstone
Toyota Europe

3rd place for TOYOTA Racing

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.

Pit stop car #7

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.

Car #8 in parc ferme

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:

“It was a difficult race for us. During the first stint, the tyres went off quickly due to the track temperatures. That affected our pace and our strategy as we were not able to do two stints on the same tyres which cost us additional time in the pits. Then we drove as hard as we could but it was not possible to fight with Audi and ultimately we missed out on the podium. So we have to go back to Cologne and work hard to get a better result at Spa.”
– Alex

 

“It was a very tough race for us. I made a wrong choice for the tyre when it was drizzling; we took a chance on the intermediate but in the end it didn’t work out as the track dried quite quickly. We would have probably been able to keep third without that but in the end the team result did not change, even if it was the #8 car on the podium instead of Alex and me. Now, we look forward to getting the new car for Spa, getting a better pace and being able to fight with Audi.”
– Nicolas

 

“That was a tough race and one of the harder podiums of my career. It was a case of the tyres being out of their temperature range; we were suffering from graining and a lack of front grip. Both Alex and I had to nurse them through the first stint and we were not able to double stint with them. We changed to a different compound towards the end and the track temperatures dropped more which helped us. That’s why our speed came back, but it was not enough.”
– Anthony

 

“It is always frustrating when you are not fastest, so it was a difficult race. But we achieved a podium and this is my first with TOYOTA Racing, so at least I am pleased with that. We didn’t have the pace today with the 2012 car but we kept pushing. Now we will look at all the information we gained today and find areas to improve. I am looking forward to Spa where I hope we will be able to push Audi harder.”
– Stéphane

 

“We did our best today but we were not able to fight for the win. Nevertheless it is still a podium so we should not be too disappointed; it is a solid start to the season especially considering we used the 2012 car. We knew Audi had improved its performance with the new car so we could not expect to be the fastest here but we have lots we can learn from this weekend. We will move forward and improve for the second race; I can’t wait for Spa.”
– Sébastien

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.

Podium ceremony at Silverstone

Photo gallery from Sunday. For our full Friday gallery in high resolution click here

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5 Comments

  1. Petros Miliopoulos : I cant wait to see the team in action again at Spa.

    Wish the team nothing but the best.

  2. Petros Miliopoulos : What differences are there between the 2012 & 2013 spec vehicles?

    • Danny Chen says:

      Danny Chen : We have an updated monocoque and aero package taking advantage of removal of front hybrid motor. We’ve also introduced more interchangeable and serviceable parts to improve out efficiency.

  3. Petros Miliopoulos : I dont understand, why wasnt the 2013 spec vehicle used?

    Anyway congratulations on a podium finish, lets hope for better performace in Spa.

    • Danny Chen says:

      Danny Chen : We used the 2012-spec car because our simulations showed that the 2012 car in high-downforce spec is faster at Silverstone than the Le Mans-spec 2013 car, designed for low-downforce.

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