Following its victory in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday, it’s fifth of the season, Toyota GAZOO Racing returned to the Bahrain International Circuit to participate in the annual WEC rookie test with regular TS050 HYBRID drivers Mike Conway and Sébastien Buemi were joined at the test by two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso and rising endurance star Thomas Laurent.
Following a total of 113 laps / 611 km in the No.8 Toyota TS050 HYBRID, the two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso – who has for several years expressed a strong interest in endurance racing and has indeed visited the WEC paddock more than once – pronounced himself very happy with the experience. He set a best lap of 1:43.013.
“It was a great day. Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing. I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.”
Also testing today with Toyota was the Promoter’s choice for emerging talents, Jackie Chan DC Racing’s Thomas Laurent who yesterday finished second in the FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Trophy title chase. He completed 31 laps, recording a fastest time of 1:43.273.
The 19-year-old Frenchman said afterwards, “I’m really happy about how this morning went and to drive in an LMP1 car with Toyota was just a dream come true.
“The car is just amazing, the downforce, the braking, the acceleration with the boost, is all super impressive. It’s a real weapon. I have been doing my ‘homework’ each night to learn about the car and had some time to adapt to it in the Toyota simulator in Cologne.”
“The downforce, the hybrid boost, the braking; it was all very impressive. I would love to drive a car like this again.”
Also at the test was 19 year old Pietro Fittipaldi – grandson of two time Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. The final World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion was thrilled with the opportunity.
“The guys (at Porsche) got me up to speed with all the procedures and everything. I’m really thankful for the opportunity.
Images: Toyota GAZOO Racing/Porsche Motorsport
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