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2014 24 Hours of Le Mans in 3 minutes

2014 24 Hours of Le Mans

Couldn’t sit down all day Sunday to watch the 24 Hours of Le Mans? Then fear not because here’s all the best bits put into a three minute video. It’s produced by Michelin so see how many times you can count their logo during the video!

There’s also a bonus clip with just under a minute of close action slow motion footage as well.

Toyota WEC

2014 LM24: Toyota post-race review

2014 24 Hours of Le Mans

Sometimes things have a funny way of working out. Right now it is understandable that Toyota is bitterly disappointed with its Le Mans fortunes. The team hoped and craved for so much more. And clearly were capable of delivering, too.

Yet, at season’s end the podium place picked up by the #8 TS040 Hybrid (Buemi/Davidson/Lapierre) could prove crucial in deciding the 2014 World Endurance Championship.

Of course, that means little for the crew of the #7 car (Nakajima/Sarrazin/Wurz), who leave with nothing other than the memories of dominating the race for 14 hours.

This was Toyota’s best shot at winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans since its return to the LMP1 category. It’s a shame for them and motorsport that things didn’t go their way.

Toyota WEC

2014 LM24: #7 Toyota retires from lead

Lead Toyota TS040 retires from 2014 Le Mans

Terrible news for Toyota from the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the leading #7 TS040 forced out of the race due to a technical fault with the wiring loom.

Kazuki Nakajima was driving the #7 car and pulled to the side of the track without incident. Toyota has since confirmed the car’s official retirement and the lead of the race has been handed to the #2 Audi R18. The #20 Porsche 919 now sits in second place, three laps behind the leader.

A further 40 seconds behind the Porsche is the #1 Audi R18 in third place. Mark Webber’s car may yet have a fight for P2 with the chances of the chasing Audi remaining strong during the remaining nine hours of racing quite high.

The #8 TS040 is in P4, but 11 laps behind the leader. In P5 the #14 Porsche is the remaining LMP1 car circulating and well out of contention.

Audi Porsche Toyota Video WEC

2014 Le Mans video updates

#7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid

The 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans is approaching half race distance and to date the race has been dominated by the #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid. Alex Wurz is at the wheel right now and he holds a lead of over 2 minutes from the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro with André Lotterer at the wheel.

Intermittent and heavy rain patches affected the race early and ended the chances of the #8 Toyota and #3 Audi after a coming together on the Mulsanne Straight. The Toyota was able to limp back into the pits and get back running again and it’s now in P6 13 laps behind the leader. Alas for the Audi its race was over.

Porsche seemed to be running a split strategy with its two 919 Hybrids. The #14 car was running hot early in the race, mixing it with the leaders, until an electrical glitch limiting the car’s speed after 30 minutes forced the car into pitlane. Meanwhile, Timo Bernhard’s more circumspect approach in the #20 919 paid dividends when for a short while he lead the race. His lack of outright pace made him vulnerable, though, and Bernhard was soon swallowed up by the #7 Toyota and the #2 and #1 Audis.

Mark Webber has finally had his first competition experience at Le Mans after two failed attempts in the late 90s with Mercedes. He put in some solid laps, driving well into the night, but said after his stint they’re having to manage some problems. The car is running relatively smoothly in fourth place but is two laps behind.

There’s a selection of video highlights for you after the break, along with the following links to help you foolow the action.

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

Toyota claims pole for 2014 Le Mans

2014 24 Hours of Le Mans qualifying

The third and final qualifying session for the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans has just finished and the #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid (Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima) has claimed pole position with a time of 3:21.789, set by Kazuki Nakajima.

Porsche’s return to the outright category has gone well so far with its #14 919 Hybrid (Dumas/Jani/Lieb) posting a best lap of 3:22.146, good enough to be on the front row. The #20 Porsche (Bernhard/Webber/Hartley) will start from P4 (3:22.908). This car held provisional pole (3:24.136) after Wednesday’s qualifying, but did not improve its time.

Audi had a less than smooth qualifying after a massive crash by Loic Duval in the #1 R18 e-tron quattro during the opening session on Wednesday. Remarkably, he suffered no serious injury but has been ruled out of the race and has been replaced by Marc Gene. The car was a total wreck an Audi has used a new tub to build a new car and will start with three cars as planned.

The best placed R18 is the #3 car (Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis) which will start from P5 (3:23.271). Starting from P6 will be the #2 R18 (Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer) with a best time of 3:24.276. The recreated #1 R18 (Di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen) is the last placed of the main front runners and will line up from P7 after setting a time of 3:25.814.

Toyota’s second TS040 will line up from P3 after the #8 car (Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi) lapped the 13.6km Le Mans circuit in 3:22.523.

Taking a look at the total lap count of the top seven cars from qualifying is interesting. The Toyotas and Audis had lap counts in the high 30s, while the Porsche lap counts were in the mid-teens. There’s probably countless theories as to why the 919 was relatively inactive, but if nothing else the car clearly has raw pace.

We’ve got an onboard video for you after the break, filmed from the #7 Toyota TS040. We’ll also update this post with official statements from the three main teams as they come to hand.

[Source: Autosport]

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

Toyota favourites heading to Le Mans

WEC 24 Hours of Le Mans official test session

The Toyota TS040 Hybrid has firmed as the car to beat at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Two wins in the opening rounds of the WEC season had already set up Toyota as the 2014 front runners and the TS040’s abilities at the Circuit de la Sarthe were confirmed after last weekend’s official test session, when the two Toyotas topped the lap charts.

Two weeks out from the event this is the only opportunity for the teams get to run the full Le Mans layout. After the two day session the fastest time around the 13.6km circuit was set by the #8 Toyota (3:23:014).

Audi set the early pace with its R18 e-tron quattro, but in the end the defending champions had to make do with the third and fourth best times. Audi is the only of the LMP1 teams to run three cars and the remaining R18 split the two Porsche 919 Hybrids. The #14 Porsche was fifth and Mark Webber’s #20 919 the seventh and slowest of the factory-backed LMP1 runners.

Full statements from the three teams can be read after the break. The 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on 14–15 June with Australian television coverage available on Foxtel’s Speed TV channel.

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Toyota wins 2014 6hrs of Spa

2014 6 Hours of Spa

Toyota has set itself up as the favourite for Le Mans after taking victory in the 6 Hours of Spa on the weekend. The #8 TS040 backed up its success at Silverstone with another win, while the #7 sister car came home third.

Splitting the two Toyotas was the #1 Audi R18, with all three cars completeing 171 laps of the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

The #14 Porsche 919, which started from pole position, started well and established a lead of over 10 seconds in the first stint before a few minor issues with the hybrid system required attention. In the end Porsche had to be satisfied with fourth place, one lap behind the leaders.

A pair of Audi R18s filled positions five and six, with the #3 car running in low downforce Le Mans trim—the only of the three LMP1 teams to do so. Audi will be heading to the Circuit de la Sarthe with a lot more work to do than it is used to. The challenge from Toyota appears very real this year.

The #20 Porsche 919 of Mark Webber, had problems throughout the race. First with the rear dampers and later with the front drive shaft. They were able to finish the race but were 23 laps behinf the winning Toyota.

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

Toyota wins 2014 6hrs of Silverstone

2014 6 Hours of Silverstone

The 2014 WEC season got off to the best possible start overnight after Toyota claimed a dominant 1–2 victory in a rain affected 6 Hours of Silverstone. Two laps behind the winning #8 Toyota TS040 (Davidson, Lapierre, Buemi) was the #20 Porsche 919 (Bernhard, Hartley, Webber). That result marks a promising return to the LMP1 category for Porsche.

“The team did a fantastic job all weekend,” said Anthony Davidson after the victory. “It looked like it would be an epic fight with Audi and Porsche if it had stayed dry, but we knew the rain was coming and we had set our car up for wet conditions.

“We made the right call on tyres, the strategy was just perfect; that’s how you win races.”

Defending champions Audi had a race to forget with both the R18s crashing out of contention. Luca di Grassi was at the wheel when the #1 R18 went out early in proceedings, while the #2 car lasted until mid-race distance having lost time due to a separate incident in the first hour.

The #14 Porsche 919 also went off-track briefly, although no major damage was done. However, its race came to an end early in the second hour due to a “technical problem”. This highlights how valuable the third place for the #20 car was, enabling the team to gather valuable track time and experience in addition to championship points.

In a three horse race, with two established rivals and a new kid on the block, this set of results builds anticipation for the 6 Hours of Spa in two weeks.

The Audis have shown they have raw pace, setting the fastest single lap in both qualifying and the race, and with multiple championships behind them they’re unlikely to repeat the double blunder we saw here at Silverstone.

Toyota has built on its LMP1 experience and this result will give them confidence to carry its momentum to Spa. While Porsche has shown it can have the reliability it needs to keep its more fancied rivals honest.

“It’s been a brilliant day for us,” Mark Webber siad post-race. “I’m happy to have played a small role in the effort that’s gone in from the team and everyone back at the factory to get to this point.

“Timo and Brendon drove exceptionally as well. It was unfortunate for the other car, but it wasn’t their day. It was a tough race for all the drivers with tricky conditions, and drizzle on slick tyres is never easy. We managed to dodge a few bullets and survived some of the tricky phases.

“It was a great experience for me, I learnt so much today in the race. We were spot on with the pit stops in terms of the tyre strategy.”

Official race reports and photos from Toyota, Porsche and Audi can be viewed after the break.

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Porsche fastest at two-day WEC Prologue

Porsche 919 Hybrid

The Porsche 919 Hybrid headed the field after the WEC’s official two-day Prologue test at Paul Ricard on the weekend. The #20 car of Mark Webber went fastest during the Friday evening session when Brendon Hartley posted a lap time of 1:41.289.

Hartley’s teammates, Timo Bernhard and Webber, also broke the 1:42 barrier on the first day of testing. The #2 Audi R18 with Andre Lotterer at the wheel set the next best time of the weekend when he went 1:42.073 on Friday afternoon.

Romain Dumas, driving the #14 919, recorded the third quickest lap with a best time of 1:42.126. Toyota’s fastest lap in the TS040 of 1:42.356 came during the Friday afternoon session.

There were two sessions run on Saturday, which were slower overall. The best times were in the 1:43s and were set by the #1 and #2 Audi R18s of Tom Kristensen and Marcel Fassler.

With the more open nature of the new LMP1 regulations it’s difficult to compare like with like. Aside from the different engine configurations found in the three factory LMP1 teams the Audi R18 can use up to 2MJ of recovered energy per lap, while the Porsche 919 and Toyota TS040 can use up to 6MJ. This means the regulations employ a complex measure of how much fuel each car can use per lap in order to try and keep performance as even as possible.

It’s probably best just to worry about which car is fastest against the clock and, if you care enough, then start looking into the reasons why. Needless to say all three teams were claiming success after the Prologue, saying that testing went to their pre-arranged schedules. It seems everyone’s a winner. For now.

The real winner will be known in a few weeks when the flag drops and the bullshit stops when racing begins in earnest at the 6 Hours of Silverstone on 20 April.

Speaking after the Prologue Mark Webber explained just getting through the team’s program was a bonus for Porsche: “This test here was a big milestone. To enter two cars for the first time was a tremendous amount of hard work for the crew on the operational side.

“Smooth running was a well-deserved award and a good tonic for the guys after a long week. Every day we run we find more areas to improve, which is very encouraging. The track lay-out at Paul Ricard seems to suit our car very well. I’m curious to find out how we can perform in Silverstone.”

Toyota WEC

Toyota TS040 Hybrid revealed

Toyota TS040 Hybrid

Toyota Racing has launched its 2014 challenger, the TS040 Hybrid. The team will continue to run a two car program with the same drivers as before, although the pairings have been slightly rearranged.

As in Formula 1 new regulation changes have been introduced for the 2014 season. Two of the main changes include a 100mm reduction in width of the cars and they must now use 25% less fuel compared with last year.

Despite the need to reduce fuel use these LMP1 cars have some serious grunt. The TS040 has a combined maximum power output of 736kW (1000PS). That power is produced thanks to a 383kW normally aspirated 3.7 litre V8 and 353kW of “all-wheel drive hybrid boost”.

There’s a video animation below which illustrates how the new all-wheel drive system works in the TS040, along with a bunch of pics and a brief press statement from Toyota Racing.

An official two day pre-season test session for all WEC cars begins later tonight.

Toyota WEC

Toyota Racing shuffles 2014 WEC driver line ups

2014 Toyota TS040 Hybrid

The official entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2014 brings confirmation of a minor change to the driver line ups for Toyota Racing.

In effect Nico Lapierre and Stephane Sarrazin have swapped seats. Which means Toyota’s final pairings for the 2014 WEC season will be Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima in the #7 TS040 Hybrid, while Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi will race in the #8 car.

The 2014-spec TS040 Hybrid will be revealed at the first WEC test session on 28–29 March. The big news is the TS040 now had power being sent to all four wheels, with electric power at both axles, in conjunction with a V8 petrol engine at the rear.

Toyota WEC

Toyota TS040 Hybrid LMP1 begins testing

Toyota TS030 Hybrid LMP1

Testing for Toyota’s successor to the TS030 Hybrid (pictured above) has begun with the new TS040 Hybrid taking to the Paul Ricard circuit in France earlier this week. Three days of testing were completed in all with Alexander Wurz and Anthony Davidson sharing the driving duties.

According to an unnamed Toyota Motorsport GmbH staffer, “It was the best roll-out we have had since we returned to endurance racing in 2012.”

The TS040 uses a normally aspirated V8 engine coupled to front and rear axle mounted energy recuperation systems. Further closed test sessions are scheduled at the Portimão and Aragon circuits before the TS040 makes its full debut ahead of the official WEC test session in March.

[Source: Autosport]