After Le Mans it was reliability. After Silverstone it was fuel consumption. Today it is celebration!
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Sept. 16, 2012
Toyota’s TS030 Hybrid takes first place for the first time in only its third start in FIA action.
Sao Paulo, Brazil -- Toyota’s FIA LMP1 race car, the TS030 hybrid, led from start to finish for the team’s first victory in just its third race in the Six Hours of Sao Paulo at Interlagos, FIA World Endurance Championship.
Drivers Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre started from pole position in the TS030 Hybrid #7. The result marks Toyota’s first victory in an FIA world championship race since the 1999 Rally of China. It is 20 years since victory for the TS010 at Monza in 1992, Toyota’s last success in international endurance racing.
Audi’s formidable R18’s had to admit defeat for the first time this season. The Le Mans winners Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro finished as the runners-up with their team-mates Lucas di Grassi/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish in the Audi R18 ultra standing on the podium in third.
This ended an Audi string of sports car victories which had begun in March.
Today’s Toyota Racing victory completes a remarkable journey for the Hybrid powertrain. The project to develop a hybrid system for motorsport began in 2006 under Hisatake Murata, now Hybrid Project Leader at Toyota Racing.
The project created history in July 2007 when a Toyota Supra became the first ever hybrid winner, in the Tokachi 24 Hours. That pioneering super capacitor technology has been extensively developed, reducing weight and increasing power, leading to the current powertrain found within the TS030. In Sao Paulo, the 300 HP boost from the Toyota Hybrid racings system was flawless from green to the checkered.
Nicolas took the rolling start under clear skies and held the lead into the first corner. He set the pace at the front as he fought through lapped traffic before handing over to Alex with just over 90 minutes complete. Soon after Alex made a fuel stop, an incident down the field caused a short safety car period, helping the #7 extend its lead to over 40 seconds.
At the restart Alex maintained the blistering pace to stretch his advantage to over a minute before handing back to Nicolas with two-and-a-half hours to go. He extended the lead to a complete lap as the final quarter of the race arrived.
The TS030 Hybrid was clearly the fastest car and as the race entered its final hour, Nico handed over to Alex. A very short fuel stop with just a few minutes to go allowed him to take a well-deserved victory by over a minute.
Toyota Racing’s next action comes at the Bahrain International Circuit for the Six Hours of Bahrain on 29 September when Alex and Nicolas will again be driving the #7 TS030.
Race: 1st, place completed 247 laps with 7 pit stops. Fastest lap: 1min 23.419secs
At the fifth of the season’s eight races, the two sportscar concepts and the driver teams of Audi fought a remarkable battle. In the early phase, Allan McNish was initially running in second position ahead of Benoît Tréluyer. After nine laps, the Frenchman overtook the Scotsman. After Tom Kristensen had taken over the number "2" R18 ultra from McNish, he spun and clearly dropped behind his brand colleague Marcel Fässler but the eight-time Le Mans winner from Denmark started a remarkable recovery. Despite having to wait at the red light in the pit lane during a caution period and dropping behind the second safety car on the track Kristensen cut his deficit in half again before the end of his stint.
Lucas di Grassi took over the R18 ultra from the Dane and on his debut for Audi showed a commanding performance. He drove without making any mistakes whatsoever throughout the weekend and also did a very good job of handling the traffic that he was not used to. At the beginning of the final stint, he achieved the fastest race lap for Audi, thus clinching third place in his first endurance race together with his team-mates, with a gap of only 14 seconds to the sister car.
Six Hours of Sao Paulo Race Results
- Wurz/Lapierre (Toyota) 247 laps
- Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) + 1m 00.778s
- di Grassi/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18 ultra) + 1m 14.679s
- Prost/Jani (Lola-Toyota) - 5 laps
- Belicchi/Primat (Lola-Toyota) - 7 laps
- Leventis/Watts/Kane (HPD-Honda) - 7 laps
- Potolicchio/Dalziel/Sarrazin (HPD-Honda) - 13 laps
- Lahaye/Nicolet/Pla (Morgan-Nissan) -16 laps
- Kaffer/Minassian/Perez Companc (Oreca-Nissan) - 17 laps
- Brabham/Chandhok/Dumbreck (HPD-Honda) - 17 laps
And so begins a new era in racing with the mighty Audi Turbo Diesel Hybrid looking to avenge the loss against the hot up and comer TS030 hybrid at the next FIA race in Bahrain. This is somewhat sustainable racing at its finest and its great to see balanced completion back in FIA and ALMS.