Tag: Le Mans

Toyota Racing gets 3rd consecutive win at 2020 Le Mans

Toyota Racing gets 3rd win in a row at 2020 Le Mans

The 24-hour  Le Mans endurance race is usually an exciting annual affair for motorsports fans in Europe and the world. This season is a little different as the post-pandemic situation has limited spectators to go to the Circuit de la Sarthe. Not only the fans, but manufacturers participating in the Le Mans have dwindled over the past 3 years. The 2020 Le Mans is also the penultimate round of the WEC (World Endurance Championship).

Toyota Racing have been carrying the Le Mans title for the past couple of years. Going into the 2020 season, they’re looking for a third and without any real factory squads to challenge them, it’s almost assuredly theirs for the taking. This Le Mans would mark the final appearance for the 1,000PS, four-wheel-drive TS050 Hybrid.

The stage was set on Sunday as the two TS050 Hybrids lined up on the grid. Cars no.7 featured  Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, while car no.8 piloted by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley. The Toyota drivers looked set for a perfect 1 – 2 finish, but an exhaust issue would cause car no.7 the win. But, they ended up third overall.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Le Mans 24 Hours World Endurance Championship 16th to 20th September 2020 Le Mans, France

Led by the pole sitter car no.7, Toyota got off to a stirring start and built a one-lap lead by half distance. But shortly 3 hours after midnight, with Kobayashi at the wheel, the car suffered a drop in power which forced it into the pit. A damaged exhaust manifold was replaced in less than 30 minutes and the Japanese driver re-joined in fourth place, six laps off the lead and four laps behind the third-placed car no.3 Rebellion.

That left the second TS050 no.8 in a clear lead, having recovered from its own troubles first with a puncture, then a debris-damaged brake duct which cost time at two pit stops before a 10-minute repair in the seventh hour. But they never gave up and fought back into second place before disaster struck car no.7.

With a healthy lead, car no.8 trio controlled the rest of the race from the front, establishing a five-lap lead. For the third consecutive year, Nakajima crossed the finish line to win the Le Mans 24 Hours, cementing his status as the most successful Japanese driver at the Le Mans’ La Sarthe.

Car no.7 trio initially made up ground on third place but the car  sustained floor damage after hitting debris, which compromised aerodynamic performance. However, the podium battle came alive in the final hour when the no.3 Rebellion first crashed on track and then could not exit the pits, allowing José to earn third, taking the flag six laps behind the no.8 car and one lap adrift of the second-placed no.1 Rebellion.

For Buemi and Nakajima, this was their third consecutive Le Mans triumph and they join only seven previous drivers who have achieved that feat in the race’s 97-year history, while Hartley won for the second time following his victory in 2017.

After Le Mans, Toyota Racing have the advantage of 7 points in the drivers’  point standings. The WEC finale goes down to the wire in Bahrain on 14 November, with 39 points up for grabs.

Le Mans 24 Hours results:

1st  #8 Toyota Racing                                       387 laps         

2nd  #1 Rebellion (Senna/Menezes/Nato)                            +5 laps            
3rd  #7 Toyota Racing                                      +6 laps            

4th   #3 Rebellion (Dumas/Berthon/Deletraz)                      +6 laps    

5th   #22 United Autosports (Hanson/Albuquerque/di Resta) +17 laps    

Toyota Racing gets ready for 2019/20 WEC season-opener at Silverstone

In its final season, Toyota Racing is prepping to go out with a bang as the 2019/20 WEC (World Endurance Championship) season-opener hits Silverstone this weekend. The 4-hour race will see the sole factory Toyota squad battles the many private contenders for the WEC crown, which culminates with the Le Mans 24-hour.

This season’s WEC features eight races on four continents and concludes at La Sarthe on 14 June 2020. For the start of its fourth and final season, the Toyota TS050 Hybrids will compete in high-downforce specification, giving a race debut to the new aerodynamic configuration which was also used during the Prologue test in Barcelona last month.

Home favorite Mike Conway leads the #7 TS050 Hybrid line-up alongside Kamui Kobayashi and José María López while WEC Champions Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima are joined by Brendon Hartley, who will make his Toyota Racing debut at Silverstone. “It’s a really fun track, although traffic can be difficult there and you have to get your timing right. There’s always a big crowd and I have family and friends supporting me, so I would love to finally win my home race; I’ve been close a few times but I hope this is the year,” Conway said.

“We are focused on the new season and the first race at Silverstone, we want to make a winning start. The competition from the other LMP1 cars looks to be quite challenging this year following the regulation changes so we are expecting a fight and we know we need to prepare ourselves thoroughly to get the right result on Sunday,” Buemi added.

Silverstone was the only race which Toyota Racing did not win last season; following a one-two victory both cars were excluded after failing post-race technical checks due to floor damage after hitting kerbs. That disappointment means the team is even more determined to earn another victory at the British track, where they won six-hour races in 2014 and 2017.

This year’s Silverstone race is the first of the WEC’s modern era to be held over four hours, during which the leading cars can expect to complete close to 800km on the 5.901km circuit. They will be fighting to earn the Royal Automobile Club International Tourist Trophy, first awarded in 1905 and won by motorsport legends such as Tazio Nuvolaro, Stirling Moss and Graham Hill.

The TS050 Hybrids will face a challenge from LMP1 non-hybrid rivals Rebellion and Ginetta, boosted by revised regulations which enhance their performance. At Silverstone, the TS050 Hybrids will be 94kg heavier than the non-turbo Rebellion and 85kg heavier than the turbo-charged Ginetta. Meanwhile, the Rebellion is permitted 61% more fuel per stint than the TS050 Hybrid, with the Ginetta’s turbo engine allowed 50% more. Regardless how the organizers intend to make the competition fair, the Toyota cars will be hard to beat based on raw power and factory-backed advantage.

British fans get their first chance to see the 2019-2020 WEC grid in action on Friday, with two 90-minute practice sessions while qualifying takes place on Saturday noon prior to a midday day start to Sunday’s race.

This weekend marks the first visit to a WEC race in his new role for Katsuyoshi Hikichi, new President of Toyota Motorsport. .

Marquez gets on a roll to take win at Le Mans

It was Reigning Champion Marc Marquez’s second win in the European leg after his emphatic victory at Le Mans. The win was Marquez’s third of the season as he topped the two Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci.

Right from the start, Marquez tried to pull clear. However, Satellite rider Jack Miller decided to bring on the challenge to try to take on the defending champion. He successfully got ahead of Marquez for a couple of laps until the factory Honda answered back. Marquez would swoop past Miller for the lead on lap 6. From there, he never looked back.

Behind the champion, Miller had to ward off the two chasing factory Ducatis. But, the GP11s proved to be too much as Dovizioso easily took second at the half-way mark. His team mate in the second Ducati did it much later in the race as he squeezed past Miller for third, seven laps from the end.

Without even a glance back, Marquez would finish almost 2 seconds clear of the lead Ducati for Honda’s 300th in MotoGP. It was Marquez’s 47th premier class career win, which coincidentaly draws him level with team mate Jorge Lorenzo on the all-time list. Lorenzo finished the race in a dismal 11th.

“I think this is the first time I have had a race where I had the soft tyre in the front but it was the safest option. I was focused on being consistent until I saw the gap increasing, I pushed a little bit more and into the low 32s until I saw I had two seconds. I’m happy with today’s result and it is fantastic to be able to take Honda’s 300th premier class win!” Marquez said in post-race.

After five rounds, Marquez tops the riders standings with 95 points, then Dovizioso with 87 points. Repsol Honda hold the lead from Ducati in the manufacturers.

Valentino Rossi was the only finisher for Yamaha as Maverick Vinales was taken out of the race. Rossi had a duel with Dovizioso early in the race, but would soon drop out of the front runner contention. Petrucci would pass him for fourth in the mid-distance. After that, he would settle behind Miller until the end of the race. He made a last dash to challenge Miller for position but came just short of making a move.

The teams will be back in action in Tuscany in two weeks’ time for the Italian Grand Prix, held at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello.

2019 MotoGP Le Mans results

1         MARQUEZ Marc     Repsol Honda Team                     41’53.647

2         DOVIZIOSO Andrea          Ducati            1.984

3         PETRUCCI Danilo   Ducati                     2.142

4         MILLER Jack  Pramac               2.940

5         ROSSI Valentino     Yamaha 3.053

6         ESPARGARO Pol   KTM   5.935

7         MORBIDELLI Franco   Yamaha SRT      7.187

8         QUARTARARO Fabio Yamaha SRT       8.439

9         CRUTCHLOW Cal   LCR   9.853

10       RINS Alex     Suzuki          13.709

Riders standings

1 MARQUEZ Marc SPA 95  
2 DOVIZIOSO Andrea ITA 87  
3 RINS Alex SPA 75  
4 ROSSI Valentino ITA 72  
5 PETRUCCI Danilo ITA 57 i  
6 MILLER Jack AUS 42  
7 MORBIDELLI Franco ITA 34  
8 CRUTCHLOW Cal 5 GBR 34  
9 ESPARGARO Pol SPA 31  
10 VINALES Maverick SPA 30

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

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Marquez reigns at Le Mans

The story just keeps going Reigning Champion Marc Marquez’s way as he nailed another solid win at the famous Le Mans Circuit, Round 5 of the MotoGP. It was his third straight victory and 64th of his career (38th in MotoGP). The MotoGP mark puts him equal to Casey Stoner’s premier class GP win tally.

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MotoGP Round 5 Le Mans: Zarco tops qualifying on home soil

  MotoGP Round 5 qualifiers at Le Mans saw Yamaha Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco top Reigning Champion Marc Marquez. Although the Yamaha Tech 3 rider’s pace secured pole, Marquez put up a stunning 1:31.293, which was 0.790 seconds faster than the previous circuit-best lap, set by Jorge Lorenzo in 2016.

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Round 5 at Le Mans await MotoGP competitors

  Following the most recent test in Mugello, riders prepare for Round 5 of the MotoGP at the Le Mans track this weekend. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez is set to continue his fine form after two impressive rounds in the USA and Spain.

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Nabil Jeffri is first Malaysian to compete in 2018 WEC and Le Mans

  Nabil Jeffri becomes the first Malaysian to compete in the 2018 WEC (World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans 24-hour. Jeffri is also the youngest driver to get a test with a Formula 1 team.

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Porsche 919 Hybrid ‘Evo’ breaks track record set by an F1 racer

  An evo version of the Le Mans winning Porsche 919 Hybrid established a new track record at Spa-Francorchamps. Porsche works driver Neel Jani lapped the 7.004 kilometer long Belgian Grand Prix Circuit in the Ardennes mountains in 1:41.770 minutes.

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