Posts Tagged ‘alex wurz’
Toyota Racing has completed a remarkable debut season with a victory from pole in the Six Hours of Shanghai. The winning margin of almost a minute highlighted the impressive speed of the Toyota TS030 Hybrid and its innovative Toyota Hybrid System. It was the third victory this year for the #7 TS030 Hybrid from just six races in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The hybrid system, using unique super-capacitor energy storage technology, also propelled the hybrid race car to three pole positions and four fastest laps during the season. Maximum points from the weekend elevated Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre to third place in the drivers’ world championship, despite contesting only six of the eight rounds. The Toyota hybrid stamped its grip on the race from the outset with Lapierre pulling away from his Audi rivals at the rate of one second per lap. After a double stint, he handed over a half-minute lead to Wurz who kept up the relentless speed. The strategy of fitting new tyres at each pit stop helped maximise the TS030 Hybrid’s pace and enabled the team to seize control of the race by the half-distance mark. Both drivers completed further double stints each, with Wurz crossing the line to take victory and secure a winning climax to Toyota Racing’s first season of competition. “It was a good race for us and a 100 per cent perfect race weekend,” said Wurz. “That was the absolute maximum and it was good enough to win. Maybe it looked easy on TV but Nicolas and I gave it everything. These races are never simple but we were very determined to win this race for Toyota and give everyone extra motivation over the winter.” The final margin was 58.57 seconds and follows victories earlier this month at Fuji Speedway in Japan and in September in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The win in China marks the first time a Toyota team has recorded consecutive victories in an FIA World Championship event since 1994, when it competed in the World Rally Championship.
A home event for a team means more pressure than usual, though Toyota are turning this into positive pressure and will be gunning for their second victory in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The team will see a return of Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima who will drive with Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre behind the wheel of the #7 TS030 Hybrid in the Six Hours of Fuji at the spectacular Fuji Speedway on Sunday. Remarkably for a new car in its first season, the #7 Toyota Hybrid TS030 has led every race in which it has competed, recording its first victory in Brazil last month in only its third race. Team President Yoshiaki Kinoshita said the entire team was “fired up” for this weekend’s event, particularly because the race car’s hybrid powertrain was developed very close to Fuji Speedway at the Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre. “Our home race is a very special occasion for Toyota Racing and the team is extremely motivated to deliver a good result,” he said. “To stand on the top step of the podium in Japan is a big dream for us, so everyone is fired up for this weekend.” Lapierre, who is making only his second trip to Japan, said the privilege of racing in front of Toyota’s home fans was “positive pressure” to do well. Wurz said the extra pressure would be good for the team. Nakajima knows the Fuji Speedway circuit very well, having raced there twice this year in the Super GT program – a Japanese series in which he has concentrated his efforts since helping Toyota Racing to its first podium finish at Silverstone in August. During his absence, his teammates drove the Toyota Hybrid to victory in Sao Paulo and were in a strong position to repeat its success in Bahrain two weeks ago, but a technical issue cost several minutes before an accident ended its race. Weather conditions are expected to be significantly cooler in Japan than the 37°C race-day heat experienced in Bahrain. The 4.563km Fuji Speedway track has a rich history of endurance racing, having previously hosted the World Sportscar Championship from 1982 to 1988, as well as national sportscar events.
Toyota Racing’s TS030 Hybrid led from start to finish for the team’s first victory in just its third race with a dominant performance in the Six Hours of Sao Paulo at Interlagos, the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Drivers Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre started from pole position as the #7 Toyota car maintained its record of having led every race in which it has competed. The result marks Toyota’s first victory in an FIA world championship race since the 1999 Rally of China. It is 20 years since victory for the TS010 at Monza in 1992, Toyota’s last success in international endurance racing. The victory completes a remarkable journey for the THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System – Racing). The project to develop a hybrid system for motorsport began in 2006 under Hisatake Murata, now Hybrid Project Leader at Toyota Racing. The project created history in July 2007 when a Toyota Supra became the first-ever hybrid winner, in the Tokachi 24 Hours. That pioneering super capacitor technology has been extensively developed, reducing weight and increasing power, leading to the unique powertrain in the TS030 Hybrid. At Interlagos, Lapierre took the rolling start in bright sunshine and held the lead into the first corner. He set the pace at the front as he skilfully fought through the traffic before handing over to Alex with just over 90 minutes gone. Soon after Alex made a fuel stop, an incident down the field caused a short safety car period, helping the #7 extend its lead to over 40 seconds. At the restart, Wurz maintained the blistering pace to stretch his advantage to over a minute before handing back to Lapierre with two-and-a-half hours to go. He extended the lead to a complete lap as the final quarter of the race began. The TS030 Hybrid was clearly the fastest car and, as the race entered its final hour, Lapierre handed over to Wurz. A very short fuel stop with just a few minutes to go allowed him to take a well-deserved victory by over a minute. Toyota Racing’s next action comes at the Bahrain International Circuit for the Six Hours of Bahrain on 29 September when Wurz and Lapierre will again be driving the #7 TS030. “I am proud to be a Toyota driver,” said Alex Wurz. “Toyota has developed this incredible hybrid technology and I think we have shown it. Our Toyota Hybrid System – Racing has been simply outstanding. I like Interlagos, a circuit that is really special for me, so it is a great feeling to win here with Toyota Racing in only our third race. “Thank you to all the team and Nico for their great job. It was not easy and we pushed like crazy. The key was certainly the tyre management and we were able to make the difference in the second stint thanks to our Michelin tyres. Kinoshita san said at Le Mans “you watch, we push”. We will continue in this way during the following races.”
The World Endurance Championship is one Toyota are working hard to be victorious in and with the six hour race of Silverstone in Great Britain the team were able to score a podium in only their second outing. Driving the TS030 Hybrid, which made its debut at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June, ran reliably and displayed strong pace to finish in second position. The experienced line-up of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima shared the driving duties as they took the fight to their rivals in an exciting race that went down to the wire with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro taking victory by less than a second. Highlights included Wurz taking the race lead after just 21 minutes and Lapierre setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 139. As well as the fastest lap, the Toyota drove away with the fastest outright speed of 203.8 mph (326.08 kph). Former Formula One driver Wurz said the result confirmed Toyota’s rapid progress with its TS030 Hybrid since the last outing at Le Mans. “This is only our second race, eight months after our first roll-out, and we are fighting against a competitor who has more than a decade of experience,” he said. Team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita said he was buoyed by the car’s combination of pace and mechanical reliability. “Not only did we prove the speed of the TS030 Hybrid by setting the fastest lap of the race and finishing on the podium in just our second race, we also had a completely trouble-free race,” he said. The TS030 Hybrid is Toyota’s successor to the TS010 and TS020 race cars that participated at Le Mans with podium success in the 1990s. The 2012 THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System – Racing) powertrain features a 3.4-litre normally-aspirated V8 petrol engine and hybrid system with capacitor storage. As with Toyota’s hybrid road cars, energy is regenerated under braking and the TS030 Hybrid can operate in electric-only mode, achieving zero emissions and zero fuel consumption. Toyota Racing will next compete at the Six Hours of Sao Paulo in Brazil on September 15, the fifth event of the 2012 World Endurance Championship.
Toyota Racing has expanded its plans for the 2012 season and has entered the FIA World Endurance Championship. The team had originally planned only to take part in selected races but revised its program after unexpected changes faced by the championship. This means the Toyota TS030 Hybrid will make its racing debut at the Six Hours of Spa Francorchamps on May 5and Toyota has also confirmed it will enter two cars for the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 16-17. The regular driver line-up of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazui Nakajima are confirmed for the race, and they will be joined by Anthony Davidson, Hiroaki Ishiura and Sébastien Buemi in the additional TS030 hybrid car at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The team’s full-time entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship is for one car, with an additional TS030 hybrid confirmed for Le Mans on 16-17 June. Davidson, from Great Britain, is a winner of the Sebring 12 Hours and the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, bringing significant recent experience of manufacturer participation at Le Mans. Ishiura joins following a promising career in the competitive Super GT series in his native Japan, while he has also experienced European endurance racing in the 2011 Nürburgring 24 Hours. Swiss driver Buemi, an accomplished single-seater racer, will make his debut in endurance racing at the wheel of the Toyota TS030 hybrid while remaining third driver for Red Bull Racing in Formula 1. “I’m really happy to be a part of the Toyota Racing team, and delighted to be returning to Le Mans this year,” said Davidson. “Competing at the Le Mans 24 Hours is always hugely exciting, but to be joining a team like Toyota Racing and competing with a hybrid powertrain makes this particularly special. I’ve heard a lot about the TS030 hybrid and the technology behind it, and I’m looking forward to experiencing hybrid power for the first time in my career. I know this is a learning year for the team but I believe Toyota Racing has huge potential, and I hope we can prove that at Le Mans.”