TOYOTA GAZOO Racing believes it will be in the hunt for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) title with a new car and revised driver line-up for the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone this weekend.
A heavily-modified TS050 HYBRID, featuring upgraded hybrid powertrain plus mechanical and aerodynamic updates, will make its competitive debut in the first of nine endurance races which will decide the 2017 championship.
With only two aerodynamic packages permitted in 2017, TOYOTA will bring the high-downforce version of the TS050 HYBRID to Silverstone, where it has finished on the podium in each of its five previous visits so far. The 5.901km Silverstone circuit, one of the most historic on the WEC calendar having been opened in 1948, is famed for its sweeping corners which put a premium on downforce rather than outright top speed.
With around 35,000km of pre-season testing under its belt, including the two-day Prologue event at Monza earlier this month, the team heads to Silverstone ready to take on LMP1 rivals Porsche in a two-way battle for World Championship honours.
“I am very much looking forward to my first-ever race in an LMP1 car and my first race for Toyota said reigning WTCC champion José María López. “Testing has gone well and I feel at home in the team already. With Mike and Kamui, I have quickly developed a strong relationship; I can’t wait to race together this weekend. It’s a long time since I raced at Silverstone but it will be good to go back. It’s a high-speed track and I’m sure the TS050 HYBRID will be a lot of fun there.”
“Silverstone is a high-downforce circuit and I think our car can be strong there” added 2014 WEC champion Sebastien Buemi. “I have nice memories of racing there; I had my first podium in WEC in 2013, we won the following year and I had another podium in 2015. All in all it was usually a good race for me so I hope we can repeat that again this year. I like the atmosphere as well at Silverstone; they are really enthusiastic so it’s always nice to come back. It’s hard to say what we can expect. Looking at the Prologue results we believe we are competitive; now we need to confirm it.”
Images and Video: Toyota Gazoo Racing
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