Toyota GAZOO Racing completed a tight race in the fifth round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and claimed a podium finish in the 6 Hours of Mexico. The #8 TS050 Hybrid, led by crew Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, secured the third spot in the round, thereby earning the team’s fifth podium of the season.
The #7 TS050 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López finished not long behind in the fourth spot and completed what was a fierce challenge posted by competing cars on the race course.
Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, said, “I congratulate the Toyota teams for displaying resilience and demonstrating a competitive spirit during this tough race. One of our aspirations for participating in motorsport activities is to test our cars in challenging conditions, refine the machines using insights and experiences gained from the track, and reflect those changes in the mass production vehicles to bring satisfaction and smiles on the faces of our customers. Moreover, the support of fans has been one of the driving factors behind our success in motorsports, and I would like to thank each one of them for inspiring us to keep delivering better performance.”
On this occasion, Toshio Sato, Team President, said, “This was indeed a tough battle for the Toyota cars, but they fought well and completed a clean race. The #8 TS050 Hybrid held their nerves and gathered some good momentum especially towards the end to clinch the third spot, and the #7 did well to reach the fourth position too. That said, I am confident that the teams are significantly better than the results of the Mexican round. We detected a relative lack of downforce at the race, despite deploying the TS050 Hybrids with high-downforce on the race course. These learnings are part of a competitive race, and these are areas of opportunities where we scrutinize the performance and work on refinements. We are eyeing the next round at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.”
The #7 and #8 drivers started the race strongly with a third and fourth spot, but both subsequently conceded their leads to competing cars. Both cars endured setbacks, but right after the 90-minute mark, driver Sébastien Buemi of the #8 TS050 Hybrid gathered speed to move up to the third place and survived a brief scare when the #28 car hit him in a slow corner. The caution flags went off yet again when a baseball from the nearby sports complex landed on the race track, but the #8 TS050 Hybrid built on the momentum while entering the final stint within the closing 35 minutes of the race.
The #7 and #8 cars were once again neck-to-neck as the final lap closed in, but to maximize the points total for the World Championship-chasing #8 crew, driver Kamui Kobayashi of the #7 TS050 Hybrid eased off so that Sébastien Buemi of the #8 TS050 Hybrid could secure the third position as he drove past the chequered flag.
Toyota GAZOO Racing and the Toyota crew are now gearing up for the sixth round of the season which is slated to take place across the United States border at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on 16th September.
TS050 Hybrid#8 (Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima)
Race: 3rd, 239 laps, 6 pit stops
Fastest lap: 1 min 26.445 secs
TS050 Hybrid#7 (Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, José María López)
Race: 4th, 239 laps, 6 pit stops
Fastest lap: 1 min 26.240 secs