Toyota WEC

2015 LM24: Toyota deals in reality

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

While Nissan is busy peddling the fantasy of suggesting its understandably difficult Le Mans debut was a success, Toyota is dealing only in humility and reality.

The two TS040s spent the majority of the race circulating alone in seventh and eighth places. Late race issues for the #9 Audi elevated the #2 TS040 into P6, but it was still a mammoth eight laps behind the winning Porsche. The #1 crossed the line in P8 nine laps off the pace.

There’s no confused management speak from Toyota, just an open display of disappointment and, thankfully, a firm promise to comeback in 2016 to try and put things right.

Toyota says it is “determined to improve in all areas after a result which was far away from the team’s pre-season expectation.”

After offering its congratulations to Porsche, the Toyota team added it aims to “improve and be back at Le Mans stronger and more competitive in 2016.”

Toyota TS040 Hybrid final placings

6th (-8 laps) #2 – Wurz (AUT), Sarrazin (FRA), Conway (GB)
8th (-9 laps) #1 – Davidson (GB), Buemi (SUI), Nakajima (JAP)

Audi Nissan Porsche Toyota WEC

2015 LM24: LMP1 gallery first 12 hours

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans is now into its second 12 hours and the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid enjoys a reasonably comfortable lead (live timing).

Keeping the lead Porsche honest is a pair of Audi R18s, with the #17 Porsche 919 fighting to stay on the lead lap.

In the early stages of the race the #17 919 held the lead before dicing with the #7 R18. The red liveried Porsche suffered a minor setback after Mark Webber was given a one minute stop-go penalty for overtaking during a yellow flag.

Porsche also enjoyed seeing the #18 919 on the lead or fighting very hard for it, but it lost time after going off track at the Mulsanne Corner and is now 1–2 laps behind the leader, although still showing very strong overall pace.

The #9 Audi R18 has led this race as well and has the honour of setting a new outright lap record when Filipe Albuquerque lapped La Sarthe in 3:17.647. And thereby finally beating the old record set way back in 1971 by the Porsche 917 LH. Remember, too, that 1971 record was before the Mulsanne Straight had its two chicanes to help slow the cars down.

Going into the final 12 hours then, the first six cars remain a constantly revolving combination of Porsche 919s and Audi R18s. It will take a miracle for anyone other than Porsche or Audi to win this race; the closest Toyota is four laps off the pace.

Of course, we’d love to see the Mark Webber #17 car take the win, but the lads have some work to do after Mark’s mistake late in his first stint.

Toyota WEC

2015 LM24: Toyota preview

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota preview

Toyota had great momentum throughout the latter stages of the 2014 WEC season, winning three of the last four races. Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi were crowned world champions.

Unfortunately for Toyota that momentum has not carried through into the 2015 season. The team finished fifth and eighth at the season opener in Silverstone, although improved to finish third and fourth at Spa. But the TS040s were off the pace in the recent Le Mans official test session. Foxing? We don’t think so.

However, the great thing about Le Mans this year is that any of the four factory-backed LMP1 teams would make a wonderful winning story. And Toyota is clearly no exception there, it would be a well deserved win if Toyota can rise to the top step of the podium after the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015. It’s the only step on the Le Mans podium Toyota is yet to conquer.

We wish them well.

Toyota TS040 Hybrid

#1 – Anthony Davidson (GB), Sébastien Buemi (SUI), Kazuki Nakajima (JAP)
#2 – Alex Wurz (AUT), Stéphane Sarrazin (FRA), Mike Conway (GB)

Toyota Video WEC

VIDEO: Toyota’s 30 years of Le Mans

Toyota's 30 years of Le Mans

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Toyota’s first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Back in 1985 its hopes were pinned on the 85C-L, the two-car effort managing a respectable 12th place for the #36 car, while the #38 entry did not finish.

Today, Toyota will fight for the ultimate Le Mans success with the TS040. Again the team will have two cars, carrying the numbers #1 and #2. And with four second place finishes at the Circuit de la Sarthe (1992, 1994, 1999 and 2013) you could say Toyota is due for a win on Sunday afternoon.

You can relive Toyota’s Le Mans history with a very slick short film after the break.

Audi Nissan Porsche Toyota WEC

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans spotter guide

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans spotter guide

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held this weekend and as always the talented Andy Blackmore has made his legendary spotter guide available as a free download.

[Source: spotterguides]

Audi Nissan Porsche Toyota WEC

2015 LM24: Quick reference guide to LMP1 cars

Porsche 919 hybrid

The official FIA WEC website brings us a quick reference guide to the class of 2015 LMP1 cars. This year we have representation from Audi, Nissan, Porsche and Toyota. And the best thing about LMP1 is that the cars are all different.

Front-engined, mid-engined; rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, all wheel drive; petrol, diesel and all with varying types of energy recovery systems. It really is a technological masterclass, which will eventually heavily influence the cars we drive on the roads.

In order to try and equalise performance the cars have strict fuel flow limitations they must adhere to. That is, each car has a capped amount of fuel it can use on a single lap, using the 13.6km Circuit de la Sarthe as the basis.

You can download a full season PDF guide (54mb) from the WEC website, which goes into greater detail. After the break a quick reference guide is all yours.

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on the weekend of 13–14 June, with an official test session to be held this Sunday.

[Source: FIA WEC]

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

Best photos of the 2014 WEC season

2014 6 Hours of Shanghai

In the 2014 WEC season the three main LMP1 teams all got something they wanted. Toyota won the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships. Audi won yet another Le Mans and Porsche found its way to the top step of the podium in the final race of their return to the top flight.

Now you can get something from the WEC year too by taking a look at our gallery of the best images brought to you right here on AUSmotive.

We trust you’ll like looking back at the season that’s gone and make sure to click the headings if you’d like a recap of each race.

Stay tuned for a similar look back at the 2014 WRC and F1 seasons.

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

2014 6 Hours of Sao Paulo in pictures

2014 6 Hours of Sao Paulo

As you can see we’ve enjoyed a quiet break here at AUSmotive HQ and it’s a bit remiss to be starting the year with an update that’s well over a month old. That said, here’s a gallery of images from the final WEC race of the 2014 season.

It will be remembered for a few reasons. First, it was the maiden win for Porsche since their return to the LMP1 category. Their progress in 2015 will be well worth watching.

Second, it was the final race for Audi’s Tom Kristensen, who, thanks to his incredible nine wins at La Sarthe is known as ‘Mr Le Mans’. Kristensen’s #1 Audi R18 finished third and it was great to see him on the podium in his farewell appearance.

Finally, Mark Webber had a very big shunt towards the end of the race, which subsequently ended under yellow flag conditions. Thankfully, Mark escaped with nothing more than a “stinking  headache”.

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

2014 6 Hours of Bahrain in pictures

2014 6 Hours of Bahrain

Toyota capped off a weekend of mixed results with champagne for both cars at the WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain yesterday. The #7 TS040 driven by Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Alexander Wurz won the race. It’s the first win for the #7 car this year and Toyota’s fifth race win for the season.

However, the glory went to Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi in the #8 car, who finished well down in P11 after suffering alternator problems. Despite this they’ve done enough to wrap up the WEC drivers’ championship. With just one round to go Toyota Racing remains favourites to secure the manufacturers’ title for the first time as well.

Porsche also enjoyed a first this season, by seeing its two cars finish on the podium. The #14 919 once again started from pole position and enjoyed a reasonably smooth run. The #20 car had a scrappy day but the lack of major dramas meant they could get a valuable third place.

Audi had a pretty horrible weekend with major work required before taking the track aftrer discovering damage to the monocoques of both cars. In that respect they did very well to get out and compete and remain relatively competitive.

Yet, for the first time in the short history of the new World Endurance Championship format Audi is in danger of losing its world championship status. The team is 40 points behind Toyota with only one race left on the calendar, the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo later this month.

2014 6 Hours of Bahrain – top 6

  1. Conway/Sarrazin/Wurz (#7 Toyota) – 195 laps in 6h 00m 18.056s
  2. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (#14 Porsche) + 50.460s
  3. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (#20 Porsche) + 57.268s
  4. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (#2 Audi) – 1 lap
  5. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (#1 Audi) – 2 laps
  6. Belicchi/Kraihamer/Leimer (#13 Rebellion-Toyota) – 7 laps
Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

2014 6 Hours of Shanghai in pictures

2014 6 Hours of Shanghai

Strap yourself into the AUSmotive time machine and tavel to China with us to look back at the WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai.

Held across the first weekend in November Toyota’s late season form continued securing a one-two victory and edging closer to drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship success.

Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi consolidated their lead in the drivers’ championship by winning the race in the #8 TSo40 and enjoyed a comfortable 72 second margin ahead of their teammates in the #7  sister car.

Porsche had to make do with P3 and might have hoped for more after the #14 919 started from pole and early on both cars headed the field until tyre dramas cost the #20 car any chance of a decent result. In the end Webber and his mates had to make do with sixth.

That means the Audis filled positions four and five. The R18 hasn’t enjoyed much success since winning Le Mans and you sense Audi will have to come up with a great car in 2015 to maintain its recent dominace.

2014 6 Hours of Shanghai – top 6

  1. Buemi/Davidson (#8 Toyota) – 188 laps in 6h 01m 15.319s
  2. Nakajima/Sarrazin/Wurz (#7 Toyota) + 1m 12.564s
  3. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (#14 Porsche) – 1 lap
  4. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (#2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro) – 1 lap
  5. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (#1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro) – 1 lap
  6. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (#20 Porsche) – 2 laps

Now, get ready for our time machine to bring you back to the present where we’ll have a 6 Hours of Bahrain up date for you real soon!

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

2014 6 Hours of Fuji in pictures

2014 6 Hours of Fuji

Toyota won its home round of the World Endurance Championship—the 6 Hours of Fuji—a couple of weeks back, leaving Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi with broad grins on their faces. It was a one-two finish for Toyota and Porsche filled the final podium spot with Mark Webber’s crew tasting the champagne.

We’ve had five of eight rounds in the WEC now and Audi still looks the goods for the overall championship. With three races in November we’ll have to be much sharper in getting these updates to you!

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

Audi wins 2014 6hrs of COTA

2014 6 Hours of COTA

In dreadful conditions across the weekend Audi won a rain soaked 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas. It was a race where all three major LMP1 teams enjoyed time in the spotlight, but the experience of Audi was shining when it mattered most.

The #8 Toyota TS040 started the race on pole, with the two Porsche 919s behind. Sebastien Buemi was in the lead Toyota and built up a strong lead early. Then, about 100 minutes into the race, chaos ensued after a massive downpour saw cars sliding everywhere except on the racing line.

Race organisers had little choice but to bring a halt to proceedings and the race was red flagged for around 45 minutes. Heavy rain had been experienced during practice and qualifying sessions prior to race day as well. So the teams at least had some idea of how the track would react in the wet.

Although, the rain during the race was torrential and both Toyotas ended up off track losing a lap to the field while they recovered. The #20 Porsche 919 also lost time after an unwanted excursion.

After the restart it became a race between the two Audis and the #14 Porsche, which was leading during the latter stages of the race until a loss of power saw the car drop to fourth. From there a one-two victory was Audi’s for the taking and they didn’t falter.

2014 6 hours of COTA (top six)

  1. #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer) – 157 laps
  2. #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen) – +53,016s
  3. #8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid (Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi) – +1:03,945m
  4. #14 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Dumas/Jani/Lieb) – +1 lap
  5. #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Bernhard/Hartley/Webber) – +2 laps
  6. #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid (Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway) – +2 laps