The crew of the #7 Toyota TS040 HYBRID will be hoping their new car – unveiled today – will be able to power them to seventh heaven in the World Endurance Championship.
The trio, consisting of Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima, will be taking the fight to not one manufacturer but two as Audi are joined by Porsche who race their first prototype since the acclaimed RS Spyder.
This is also the first season that new LMP1 rules are in force and not all the driver’s are happy as Wurz explains: “To be honest, I don’t like these new rules of narrower tyres, less engine power and fuel economy. I know the racing world is moving in this direction for good reasons but as a race driver I would like to keep big tyres and have maximum power. We are in a modern world so we have to go to these developments and saving fuel on each lap becomes a new challenge for a driver.”
However, one thing they can decide on is the instant impression made by the TS040: “The team has done a great job preparing this car. The development work has been really good and the TS040 HYBRID promises a lot. The new hybrid system is bigger and very impressive. We have to think more about fuel efficiency due to the regulations and this creates its own challenge. We have to drive differently; we are chasing a good lap time but at the same time we have to be conscious of fuel consumption,” stated Nakajima.
It is also interesting to note that the two crews – which have remained the same since 2012 – will be having a slight change with Sarrazin replacing Nicolas Lapierre in the #7: “It’s an interesting experience for me to switch to the #7. As drivers we all have very good relationships with each other; we are a real team. I drove with Alex in 2008 and 2011 so we know each other very well. Whoever my team-mates are, we’re all in the same team. For the team, this change brings together drivers with similar sizes which has advantages; for example, I can use Alex’s seat. To win races you have to work on even the smallest details. I am convinced that we will have a fantastic season and I ‘m looking forward to being at Silverstone.”