Category: FIA GT, International Motorsport

Toyota Racing captures 2nd straight win at 2019 Le Mans

The 87th Le Mans 24-Hour was an unforgettable experience for Toyota Racing with a second Le Mans title in consecutive years, a repeat from last season. Not only did Toyota win the 2019 Le Mans, but they got a one-two finish after Sunday’s endurance race around the clock at the Circuit de la Sarthe. With the Le Mans win, Toyota won the WEC (World Endurance Championship) 2018-19 overall title as well..

Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso in the no.8 TS050 Hybrid defended their Le Mans crown and secured the drivers’ title. They inherited the win which could have gone team mates’ (Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López) way in sister car no.7. The TS050 Hybrid no.7 was on the verge of victory, but a tyre puncture prompted a last minute swap and virtually handed victory to car no.8.

On the 367th lap, with a lead of over two minutes, data on no.7 car indicated a puncture and Lopez had to pit to replace the tyre. A sensor issue resulted in the wrong tyre being identified, meaning Lopez left the pits still with a deflating tyre. That necessitated a slow lap back to the pits when four tyres were changed, handing an unassailable lead to Nakajima in car no.8.

Car no.7 drivers had controlled much of the contest, having set the fastest-ever Le Mans race lap of 3:17.297. Other motorsport records were rewritten too; Nakajima became the first circuit-racing champion from Japan and Alonso is the second driver to win four-wheel world titles in two different disciplines (F1 and Le Mans).

2019 Le Mans 24-Hour: Unlucky end for TS050 car no.7

Car no.7 had started the race from pole following Kobayashi’s fastest qualifying lap, with car no.8 starting just behind. That set the scene for an exciting and close battle for overall victory between the two 1,000PS TS050 Hybrids, with momentum swinging one way and then the other. Without the likes of Porsche and Audi, there weren’t any real challenges for the factory Toyota squad. After 12 hours the two Toyotas were separated by only 8.6secs. In the night, car no.7 seized a decisive advantage as the sister car faced an aerodynamic imbalance. That was caused by bodywork damage due to the rigours of a tough, flat-out contest although the cars were always on the same lap.

As the final hours approached, the gap remained relatively stable around two minutes and the focus switched to bringing the cars home safely. All appeared to be going to plan until car no.7 experienced its dramas and Nakajima took the lead with less than an hour to go. From there, it was smooth sail for the Japanese and more importantly a 1-2 finish. The closest challenger was six laps behind the two Toyotas.

2019 Le Mans 24-hour LMP1 results

1st    #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing                                385 laps
2th    #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing                               +16.972secs

3rd    #11 SMP (Petrov/Aleshin/Vandoorne)                 +6 laps
4th    #1 Rebellion (Jani/Lotterer/Senna)                     +9 laps
5th    #3 Rebellion (Laurent/Berthon/Menezes)            +15 laps

New Aston Martin Vantage GT3 makes racing debut at Le Mans

Aston Martin Racing has revealed its new Vantage GT3 and GT4 customer racing cars to the public at the 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the Vantage GT3 making its Racing debut in the Aston Martin Racing Le Mans Festival this weekend.

The new Vantage GT3 and GT4, the former taking the track for the first time on Thursday (14 June) in the hands of AM Racing driver Ross Gunn, is derived from the new Vantage GTE; two of which are entered into the GTE Pro category of this weekend’s showpiece endurance event. All three modern Vantage race cars are based on the critically-acclaimed Vantage road car and powered by the same 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine, optimized by AM Racing.

Weighing in dry at 1245kg, the #Vantage GT3 produces a boost-variable 535bhp and 700 Nm of torque. Built from a lightweight aluminium chassis, again based on the road car, it features a steel roll-cage, an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox, an Alcon motorsport multi-plate clutch, Öhlins four-way adjustable dampers and Alcon brakes and Bosch Motorsport ABS.

The Vantage GT3 remains in development until homologated on 1 March, 2019 and replaces Aston Martin’s most successful customer car, the V12 #vantagegt3, which is still winning races seven years after it was first introduced to the market, most recently in the Blancpain GT Series #endurance Cup and British GT series.

While not competing this weekend, the new  Aston Martin Vantage GT4 makes race debut at Le Mans will remain on display throughout in the AM Festival Race paddock, offering potential customers and race fans a first glimpse of the marque’s new challenger. Along with the Aston Martin Vantage GT3, the GT4 makes its race debut at Le Mans but remain in development throughout 2018 and is set to be homologated for competition from 1 March, 2019.

Vice President and Chief Special Operations Officer David King said, “The new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 makes debut at Le Mans is a worthy successor to the V12 Vantage GT3 and represents the core future of our customer racing program.”

“With the continued growth of GT racing in general and the GT3 category in particular, this new car and its vantage GT4 brother will lead our expansion in the GT markets around the globe and particular target areas of the US and Asia. We’ve already seen a high level of interest from potential customers and we only expect that to grow as the car evolves closer to its homologation date,” he concluded.

Montoya ready to tackle first ever Le Mans

The 2018 Le Mans has began on Wednesday with practice followed by the exciting qualifying on Thursday. The race is scheduled for this Sunday at 3 p.m. local time.

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Andretti Formula E Team ready to take on Zurich E-Prix

At the upcoming Formula E Championship round in Zurich, the MS&AD Andretti Formula E Team will once again break new ground. For the first time for 63 years, Switzerland will play host to a circuit race, the spectacular Julius Baer Zurich E-Prix. This is also the home event of Julius Baer, global partner of Formula E and strategic partner of BMW, and also represents the final European race of the season.

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Audi Abt heads to Formula E Zurich with confidence

With six podi

With six podiums in the last five races Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler has returned to the battle for the Formula E teams’ title. In Zurich this coming Sunday Round 10 of the Championship, 10 June, the team around Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi is aiming to go for another strong performance.

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Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak ready for Hillclimb Challenge

In preparation for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2018, the Volkswagen Motorsport team designed the I.D. R Pikes Peak to strike the best balance between performance and weight.

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Team Peugeot aim to pile up the win at World Rx Silverstone

  Fresh from a resounding victory in Belgium less than two weeks ago, the Peugeot 208 WRX heads to Silverstone for the weekend.  Once again, drivers Sebastien Loeb, Kevin Hamsen and Timmy Hansen are ready to pile up on the win and podium.

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One-of-a-kind Audi R8 Coupe V10 RWS up for grabs

For the first time in Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup history, the 2018 GT3 champion will drive away with a unique Audi R8 Coupé V10 RWS.

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Honda Civic Type R smashes Magny-Cours lap record

  The Honda Civic Type R has set a new front-wheel drive record at the French track of Magny-Cours. In the hands of WTCR driver Esteban Guerrieri, the car on standard tyres broke a 2:1.51 lap record. Now, the Type R is pitted to set record laps at 5 other European tracks.

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Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Round 2 hits the Burinam Track

  After an electrifying season-opener in Malaysia last month, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia 2018 heads to Thailand this week for what is set to be a blistering double-header at the 4.554km Buriram International Circuit, 11 – 13 May.

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