Sebastien Buemi has stated his concerns about Toyota Gazoo Racing‘s potential pace at the FIA World Endurance Championship 4 Hours of Shanghai this weekend, due to the heavy success ballast the team has received.
Being over 40 points ahead of the lowest placed LMP1 car in the championship, both the #7 and #8 Toyotas have been handed the maximum success ballast for the Chinese race. Because of the length of the circuit and the correction factor that the FIA set at 0.012s, Toyota have been handed a 2.7s speed reduction per lap.
“We’ll do the best we can,” Buemi said in the pre-race press conference. “Obviously it’s a four-hour race and things can happen, but on pure pace, we have no real hope to fight the other guys.
“It’s going to be a completely different challenge that we’ve had in the past. I think we’re completely out of the fight.
“We’re most likely going to start fourth or fifth and we’re going to try to have a fight. But right now, it looks like we won’t be able to have a fight.”
Although both Toyotas seemed to be completely out of the fight in the first practice session, the team looked to find some speed in free practice two, ending the session within a second of the leading Team LNT car.
With the success ballast so high for Toyota, and not so high for their challengers in the Ginetta and Rebellion Racing cars, it will be the privateer team’s best shot at getting an overall victory this season.
If they can not beat the Toyotas when they are nearly three seconds a lap slower, it is highly likely Toyota will go on to take another clean sweep of victories this season.