|After a three-month break, the (WEC) World Endurance Championship returns to action with Round 4 of eight rounds at the COTA (Circuit of the Americas) in Austin, Texas.|
Following the previous WEC round at Le Mans, Toyota Racing holds a one-point advantage in the Manufacturers’ Championship while the Team’s drivers Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi (no.8 TS040 Hybrid) lead by 20 points in the Drivers’ standings. Both squads’ (Car no.8 and no.7) drivers are prepared to pick up where they left off prior to the break.
Mike Conway to drive Toyota Racing’s TS040 Hybrid car no.7 at COTA
Car no.7, previously featuring the trio of Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima, now has Mike Conway who replaces Nakajima in the roster for the WEC Round 4 COTA. Nakajima has since switched to another racing series in his home country. IndyCar racer Conway has made a name for himself in the American motorsport scene, having Indy races at Long Beach and Toronto this season. “I’m really excited to be racing the TS040 HYBRID for the first time, especially at the American round of the WEC,” an exited Conway expressed. “I had a good test with the TS040 Hybrid in Magny-Cours last month which helped me adjust to the 1,000PS four-wheel-drive hybrid system, and I have also been over to TMG in Cologne for a simulator session.”
Standings’ leaders Davidson, Lapierre and Buemi have intentions to increase their grip in the drivers leaderboard, and are eager to get back to racing after the long, long break. “It feels like such a long time since we were racing at Le Mans. For a racing driver it is massively frustrating to be out of the cockpit for three months so I am raring to go and I cannot wait for it all to start in Austin. It’s a great track; one that is really enjoyable to drive,” Davidson said.
Lapierre, along with Davidson and Buemi scored third place at Le Mans, Round 3 of the WEC, and the Frenchman is pumped up to rebound from that minor setback at this weekend’s WEC. Having missed the COTA last year, he faces the Circuit of the Americas for the first time and is confident of a consistent result. “As I didn’t race last year in Austin, this will be my first time and I am really interested to see how it is to drive. It certainly looks like a great track and I’ve heard good feedback from my team-mates. I want to get back on the middle step of the podium.”
After utilizing a dedicated Le Mans aerodynamic package in June, the TS040 Hybrid is set to return to the high-downforce configuration in which the car no.8 won the first race of the season, at Silverstone. That package was put through its paces at a recent two-day test at the French track Magny-Cours, during which Conway and Lapierre completed preparations for the Round 4 WEC.
Toyota Racing’s TS040 Hybrid ready to jump right back into the action
On the TS040 Hybrid, Toyota have added 3.76MJ hybrid boost on the 1,000 PS, four-wheel LMP1 racer, just for the COTA track. This weekend’s track action include two 90-minute sessions for practice, then a final practice and the qualifiers, and the race which is scheduled for Saturday night.