Toyota Racing experienced another off-pace weekend in the FIA World Endurance Championship, playing second fiddle to Audi and Porsche at the Nürburgring.
The Japanese manufacturer finished fifth overall with Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima behind the wheel of the #1 car, while the sister TS040 Hybrid of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway finished sixth.
The Toyotas lapped a consistent two seconds off the pace of the leading Audis and Porsches, allowing for a quiet race despite the high density traffic around the 3.119 mile Nürburgring GP circuit that caught out the front-runners on several occasions.
“It was a lonely race for us and realistically it was only a fight between our two cars.” commented Nakajima. “We didn’t give up and I think we got the most out of our package. It went okay for me; I am quite happy with my stints and my lap times. We will continue to fight and do everything we can.”
Toyota Racing team principal Toshio Sato said after the race: “The team performed professionally in hot conditions today, with clean pit stops, good race management and solid driving, but unfortunately the result is disappointing.”
“We were not quick enough to challenge. Again, we have seen a very high level of competition in LMP1, with no major mechanical failures, and this shows how tough the battle is. The European leg of the season is now over so we will push, in [the team’s base at] Cologne and Japan, to be ready for the final four races. We will stay determined to take any opportunity which comes our way.”
Toyota is set to drop its normally aspirated V6 engine setup for a more compact turbocharged layout next year; a configuration that has significantly enhanced the performance of Audi and Porsche’s LMP1 machines in 2015.
The FIA World Endurance Championship continues with the Lone Star Le Mans event at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, USA on September 19. Toyota will enter the race third in the LMP1 manufacturers’ championship, 62 points behind second-placed Audi. In the teams’ standings, the #2 squad sits seventh overall, just six points adrift of the #8 Audi, while the defending champions in the #1 car lie eighth.