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4 Hours Silverstone one-two for Toyota Gazoo Racing

4 Hours Silverstone one-two for Toyota Gazoo Racing

01.09.2019: TOYOTA GAZOO Racing started the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season in perfect style with a one-two victory in an eventful 4 Hours of Silverstone.


TOYOTA GAZOO Racing started the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season in perfect style with a one-two victory in an eventful 4 Hours of Silverstone.

 


Home favourite Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López took victory from pole position in the #7 TS050 HYBRID to register the sixth consecutive win for reigning World Champions TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, despite its cars now carrying 99kg more weight than their nearest rivals under updated regulations.
 


The #8 TS050 HYBRID of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley fought all the way to the flag and earned second place, less than two seconds behind its sister car, in front of a weekend crowd of 49,600 who saw an action-packed race in changing weather conditions.
 


Mike started the race from pole in the #7, holding that advantage from Sébastien during the early stages until an unfortunately-timed full course yellow saw the Rebellions briefly lead. Sébastien, now ahead of the sister car after the pit stops, soon closed the gap and took the lead with Mike bringing the #7 up to second a few laps later.
 


As the race approached the 90-minute mark, an intense rain shower hit Silverstone. Both cars initially attempted to avoid a costly unplanned pit stop but track conditions deteriorated and both eventually changed to wet weather tyres.
 


Pit stops proved to be an influential factor, with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing earning precious seconds at tyre changes. That is even more significant this season due to regulation changes which increase the refuelling time for the TS050 HYBRID to make sure that Ginetta and Rebellion are able to fill up within the same time, despite adding 50% and 61% more fuel to their tanks respectively.
 


Brendon held the lead on his #8 race debut despite losing a few seconds in the pits due to a windscreen wiper repair, but Kamui was directly behind and overtook soon after as half distance approached. The race entered its final two hours under a safety car, which brought the top three close together.
 


When racing resumed after a 23-minute safety car period, the two TS050 HYBRIDs led the way and soon their margin over the #3 Rebellion was increased to almost a minute when it served a stop-and-go penalty for a technical infringement.



That left the two TS050 HYBRIDs, with Kamui at the wheel of the #7 and Brendon driving the #8, to fight it out for victory and the pair swapped places several times before handing over to José and Kazuki respectively for the final hour.
 


José held the advantage as the pendulum swung between the two cars through the challenging Silverstone traffic and took the chequered flag, winning the race for the #7 car just 1.901secs ahead of Kazuki in the #8.
 


TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will therefore take an early World Championship lead to the second round of the season, its home race at Fuji Speedway on 6 October when the race length will revert to the more traditional six-hour format.
 


However, the challenge of winning again on home ground will be even tougher due to new rules which impose performance penalties on cars depending on championship position. The TS050 HYBRIDs will be slowed compared to their non-hybrid rivals, with the #7 suffering more than its sister car on account of today’s victory.
 




Hisatake Murata (Team President): “
This was a perfect way to start the new season; a one-two victory and an eventful race for the fans to enjoy. Thanks to everyone in the team for a great job today, particularly the pit crews who made up a lot of time on our rivals with their very fast tyre changes, and the drivers who stayed cool in the changing conditions.



We have seen that the competition is much tougher this season and our rivals will be even closer in Fuji when we experience the success handicap system for the first time. So I hope the fans will continue to enjoy an exciting battle among the LMP1 teams throughout the season.”
 




4 Hours of Silverstone results:



1st   #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing                                 129 laps

2nd  #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing                                 +1.901secs
             
3rd   #3 Rebellion (Berthon/Derani/Duval)                   +1 laps  
                    
4th   #5 Ginetta (Robertson/Hanley/Orudzhev)             +5 laps

5th   #42 Cool Racing (Lapierre/Borga)                        +5 laps

6th   #36 Signatech Alpine (Laurent/Negrão/Ragues)    +5 laps




 Alastair Moffitt, photos Toyota




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01.09.2019 / MaP

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