Given its debut at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the 2013-spec Toyota TS030 HYBRID failed to finish but produced a competitive race. Meanwhile the other Japanese prototype narrowly missed out the podium on fourth place.
2013 car, in the hands of #7 crew Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima had to stop at mid-race, fighting the top five, due to overheating rear brakes. The #8 of Anthony Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastien Buemi ran the distance but could not trouble Audi R18 1-2-3. World champions André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler took the win.
0. The distance covered during the race by Wurz following the #7 early retirement. Austrian had the biggest regrets, especially considering his team mates were on top form. The former F1 driver described Lapierre as “on fire” and Nakajima “super fast”. “Next race 24h LeMans! Car#7 will give it all”, he concluded.
“Audi did a great job today, so congratulations to them.” Toyota team president Toyota Yoshiaki Kinoshita acknowledged opposition’s strength and was looking forward next race in Le Mans.
A failure in the recovering energy system was arguably the origin of the #7 retirement. The TS030 HYBRID combines regenerative braking with traditional hydraulic braking and both elements are needed for normal operation. “We are still investigating exactly what caused the problem and it is a priority to address the root cause”, Kinoshita said.
To be continued
24 Hours of Le Mans (France), 22-23 June
1. P1 Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler Audi 6h00m55.971s
2. P1 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi + 1m05.815s
3. P1 Di Grassi/Gene/Jarvis Audi + 1m54.992s
4. P1 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota + 1 lap
5. P1 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 3 laps
6. P1 Belicchi/Beche/Cheng Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 3 laps
7. P1 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka HPD + 7 laps
8. P2 Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan + 11 laps
9. P2 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan + 11 laps