Toyota HYBRID Racing started their assault on the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours in the best possible way at the Circuit de La Sarthe, with the Japanese team setting the fastest time at the traditional Test Day, with both cars running 88 laps each.
The team, who have won both FIA World Endurance Championship races so far this year with the #8 TS040 of Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi, set the fastest time around the 8.2 mile track, with the #8 a tenth faster than the #7 of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima, with the nearest Audi 1.5 seconds back.
“It was great to finally see the TS040 HYBRID running at the Circuit de la Sarthe today, and I am pleased with the performance,” said Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Toyota HYBRID Racing Team Principle. “It is only a test, so it does not show the full picture, but it gives us a good clue as to what everyone can do. We prepared well before the test and the team did another great job today. We can leave this test in good spirits and with the determination to keep up the good work through to the end of the 24-hour race. Now we can’t wait to come back here for race week.”
“We did a good job and completed a lot of kilometres which was the target, so I’m really happy,” said Buemi, who set the fastest lap of the day on a 3:23.014 in the #8. “The car felt good and we tested everything we wanted to test. We saw some useful indications about which direction to go with set-up; now we just need to analyse everything because there is still a lot we can learn. We will try to get the most out of our package so we are in the best possible position when we go into the race weekend.”
Englishman Anthony Davidson, who is aiming to be the second Englishman to win the WEC this season, said: “I have enjoyed being back in the car at Le Mans after a year gap which seems to fly by faster every year. The car felt strong all day and had a nice balance. We went through the programme and achieved a lot. Straight out of the box this morning the car had a good balance and that allowed us to work on the smaller details. Generally it has been a productive day and I am looking forward to coming back here for race week.”
The 2014 Le Mans 24 Hour takes place on June 14-15, with Free Practice starting on the 11th of June.