Toyota Stay on Top for Second Practice


Toyota Gazoo Racing remained on top throughout the track action on Thursday.
Credit: Craig Robertson

Toyota Gazoo Racing were on top of the FIA World Endurance Championship again in the second practice session, with their two cars comfortably ahead of the challengers behind.  It was the same story in LMP2 as FP1’s fastest DragonSpeed took the fastest lap of the class. Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK continued their dominant run ahead of Porsche GT Team to remain class favourites for the race. However, in Am class Porsche are looking very competitive, taking a 1-2 with customer teams.

It was the #7 Toyota that took glory to round off the first day of the WEC’s ‘Super Season’, finishing the day in the best way for the Japanese team. The two cars finished just over half a second apart, but with a clear 2 second advantage on the fastest non-hybrid running team.

The 1:56.172 set by Brit Mike Conway was 2.663 seconds fastest than the #1 Rebellion Racing R13/Gibson. Rebellion looked to be in the fight at the start of the session, managing to split the two Toyotas for P2 in class, and this could provide hope for a battle in qualifying tomorrow.

DragonSpeed held position in the afternoon’s session, with a 2:02.991. They held off the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans competing G-Drive Racing #26 throughout the hour and a half of running. The three cars had 3 tenths between them respectively, which should indicate a close battle for class pole tomorrow.

Ford are looking to be favourites this weekend in LM GTE Pro, with Stefan Mucke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson putting their #66 on top of the class. FP1’s fastest Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Tony Kanaan were split from the sister car by the #91 Porsche. With Aston Martin RacingAF Corse and BMW Team MTEK bringing up the rear of the field, it looks to be a battle of the Fords and the Porsche in Pro class this weekend.

In Am, however, the Porsche-running teams look to have an advantage. After locking out the top four class positions in FP1, the #86 Gulf Racing led the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche to the chequered flag to hold a 1-2 in class. Reinging class champions in the #98 Aston Martin were able to prevent another Porsche lock-out, placing their Vantage in P3 at the end of the session.

It was a bad day for the Manor CEFC TRSM Racing who, once again, were unable to set a lap time in the practice session. Both the #5 and #6 set an installation lap at the beginning of the session, as they did in FP1, but did not reappear for the rest of the session.