Jun 07, 2024 16:56 JST

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

Le Mans awaits TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

Toyota City, Japan, June 7, 2024 - (JCN Newswire) - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing takes on the immense challenge of the Le Mans 24 Hours on 15-16 June targeting its sixth victory in the legendary French race, round four of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.

As reigning World Champions, with five victories in the past six editions, the team has prepared exhaustively for the 92nd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Drivers, engineers and mechanics are ready to harness their strong team spirit and join an epic battle for honours at La Sarthe.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will compete with two cars, joining a 23-strong Hypercar grid alongside Alpine, BMW, Cadillac, Ferrari, Isotta Fraschini, Lamborghini, Peugeot and Porsche in the largest top-class field at Le Mans of the 21st century. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Nyck de Vries, winners already this season at Imola, will drive the #7 GR010 HYBRID while Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa, the reigning World Champions, compete with the #8 GR010 HYBRID.

Five of the team’s six drivers have already stood on top of the Le Mans podium. Sébastien has four victories while Brendon has three. Mike, Kamui and Ryo are one-time winners, while Nyck makes his top-class debut, having competed four times in LMP2. Kamui holds the fastest-ever lap of the 13.626km Circuit de la Sarthe, while Mike is the race lap record holder.

Toyota made its Le Mans debut almost 40 years ago, in 1985, and it has since achieved five victories, 17 podiums and eight pole positions, completing more than 16,000 racing laps, equivalent to more than five times around the circumference of the earth.

Kazuki Nakajima, Vice Chairman of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe and one of only ten drivers to win Le Mans three consecutive years, has been given the role of Grand Marshal for this year’s event by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, an honour which includes leading the field away on the formation lap for the race on Saturday 15 June in front of an expected 300,000 crowd.

Since the very first Le Mans 24 Hours back in 1923, the race has been a showcase for the latest automotive technologies and pioneering road-relevant innovations. Toyota advances its technology at Le Mans and, since returning in 2012, it has competed exclusively with a hybrid powertrain, emphasising a commitment to developing ever-better hybrid cars through endurance racing. The 2024-specification GR010 HYBRID features a 200 kW (272PS) hybrid motor on the front axle to deliver four-wheel drive, alongside a 3.5litre V6 twin-turbo engine, which runs on 100% renewable biofuel.

As well as using its latest technology on the track, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing brings it to fans around the circuit too. Last year a preview of a potential Le Mans future introduced the hydrogen engine GR H2 Racing Concept, and hydrogen is in the spotlight again via an exhibition at the Hydrogen Village, complimented by a Manufacturers Village display focusing on TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s motorsport projects and philosophy.

Fans can get up close to the GR010 HYBRIDs on Saturday 8 June, when the two race cars join the traditional scrutineering in Le Mans centre, while another GR010 HYBRID takes part in a 2.1km procession through the city, starting at 3.30pm. An official test the following day features six hours of action.

Practice begins with two sessions on Wednesday 12 June either side of qualifying, when the fastest eight cars from each class progress to Hyperpole, at 8pm CEST on Thursday. After Friday’s driver parade, the race begins on Saturday 15 June at 4pm.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing offers fans from around the world the opportunity to delve deeper into its Le Mans challenge, including information about the team and live onboard cameras from the two GR010 HYBRIDs, via a dedicated website, https://toyotagazooracing.com/wec/special/2024/24h-lemans/.

Kamui Kobayashi (Team Principal and driver, car #7):

“Everyone in the team – at Higashi-Fuji, Cologne, the wider Toyota family, and our partners – has been working flat-out for a year to be ready for Le Mans. We have an intense 10 days ahead of us, against strong competition, and we must be on top of our game to challenge at the front. We need all our team spirit, experience, and effort to challenge for another Le Mans win but we are all determined to do that. It’s a special race with a unique atmosphere thanks to the fans from around the world who support us. From the scrutineering in the city until the podium, we feel their support and it drives us on. I can’t wait to be there again and be part of it.”

Mike Conway (Driver, car #7):

“Le Mans is always the big race of the year and the one we look forward to most. It’s what we build these cars for. The whole team wants to get a good result and we showed with our win at Imola that if we perform at our maximum, we can succeed. We know it will be hard because there is big competition out there, with some very fast cars. We have to do 100% the best job and, because it’s Le Mans, you need a bit of luck on your side too. We go into the event with our heads held high, aiming for the best result possible. A lot is out of our control, but that’s how it is. We will do our best.”

Nyck de Vries (Driver, car #7):

“Le Mans is one of the most iconic and prestigious races in the world. For everyone participating in WEC, it’s the biggest race of the year and the one that everyone wants to win; that’s definitely the case for us. It’s my first Le Mans as a Toyota race driver and I am very excited about that. I was part of the team in 2022 as test driver and have raced there in LMP2, but now I will hopefully be fighting for overall victory. It’s an exciting era and it’s going to be a real fight with so many teams and manufacturers. I am looking forward to the marathon week when hopefully Le Mans will choose us.”

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Nyck de VriesSébastien Buemi (Driver, car #8):

“Le Mans is a special race and it’s one we work very hard for, with a lot of sacrifice from the whole team and their families. The event is a real journey together, and you have to push to the limit to win. More than 300,000 fans, over 60 cars on track and so many manufacturers involved in a race that has been taking place for 100 years make it a unique experience. On top of that, the track is amazing. It uses public roads, and we can only drive on it for one week a year, so it feels like the kind of old-school circuit which you don’t find often anymore.”

Brendon Hartley (Driver, car #8):

“Le Mans is what all our hard work is geared towards. It’s the race that arguably means more than the whole season put together. Even if we didn’t have the cleanest of starts to the season, I feel we are well prepared, and I will be giving everything together with my team-mates and every member of the team to fight for that famous top step of the podium. Last year the crowd was amazing, and I expect with even more competitors this year, we will again have a full house of fans and racing enthusiasts from all over the world. It’s a special race which brings a whole range of emotions. We are ready for it.”

Ryo Hirakawa (Driver, car #8):

“This will be my fifth Le Mans, my third for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, and I cannot wait; it’s a very exciting time of the season. There is no better feeling than standing on the top of the podium after 24 hours; it’s what every endurance driver dreams of and I was able to achieve that in 2022. Knowing how it feels to win makes me even more motivated to stand there again but we know it will not be easy. Racing flat-out for 24 hours, anything can happen, and we face strong competition in Hypercar. But the team has worked really hard to be ready, and we will do our best to get the result.”

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation
Sectors: Automotive

Copyright ©2024 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved. A division of Japan Corporate News Network.

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