TOYOTA GAZOO Racing sets Sebring Prologue pace

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing sets Sebring Prologue pace

13.03.2023: 1000 Miles of Sebring: Prologue Sunday, March 13th 2023 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is ready to take on an exciting field of Hypercar challengers for its FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) title defence following a productive two-day Prologue test in

1000 Miles of Sebring: Prologue
Sunday, March 13th 2023



TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is ready to take on an exciting field of Hypercar challengers for its FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) title defence following a productive two-day Prologue test in Florida ahead of Friday’s 2023 season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring.
 



For the first time, the GR010 HYBRIDs shared the track with new Hypercar rivals from Cadillac, Ferrari, Porsche and Vanwall, as well as last season’s competitors Peugeot and Glickenhaus, to open an exciting new era for endurance racing.



TOYOTA GAZOO Racing kicked off preparations at Sebring by setting the Prologue pace with the GR010 HYBRID #7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.



José’s Saturday morning lap of 1min 48.208secs was the fastest of the weekend, while Brendon Hartley was second on the combined results, just 0.008secs behind, in the #8 GR010 HYBRID he shares with Sébastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa.



A combined 587 laps of trouble-free running, covering more than 3,500km, was of much greater importance for this test. It gives engineers crucial data to accelerate set-up development prior to race week, when the challenge to become World Champions for the fifth successive season and win a sixth straight Le Mans 24 Hours begins in earnest.



The 2023-specification GR010 HYBRID, which benefits from a lower weight and revised aerodynamics, was making its first visit to Sebring. Drivers and engineers took full advantage to assess set-ups and tyre behaviour on the unique 6.019km circuit which is famous for its bumpy surface.



Testing began on Saturday in sunny, hot conditions with air temperatures hitting a high of 31°C. José set the fastest time of a morning session interrupted by a single brief red flag while Ryo put the #8 car second.



Lap times were marginally slower in the afternoon session, which featured three red flags. Sébastien recorded the #8 GR010 HYBRID’s quickest lap, ending the session second, just 0.014secs behind the pace-setting Cadillac. José set the best time in the third-placed #7 car.



TOYOTA GAZOO Racing was the busiest of all the Hypercar competitors on track on the opening day, completing a combined 278 laps, covering 1,673km, emphasising a successful team effort over the winter to be ready for the new season.



Strong cooperation between team members in Higashi-Fuji and Cologne has been complimented by valuable contributions from technical partners. DENSO supplies spark plugs and contributes to the front motor alongside AISIN, while RAYS delivers lightweight alloy wheels, Akebono provides brake callipers and Mobil 1 is the lubricant of choice.



Sunday followed a similar pattern to Saturday, with drivers, engineers and mechanics again working flawlessly despite challenging heat and humidity. Almost 30 minutes were lost due to three red flag periods, but between the stoppages, Mike clocked the quickest morning lap, with Sébastien 0.008secs back in second.



The fourth and final session of the weekend again saw the GR010 HYBRIDs set the standard. This time Brendon put the #8 on top, setting the car’s fastest lap of the Prologue in the process, slightly quicker than Mike’s best effort in the #7. Three red flags disturbed progress but the team again reached the chequered flag after completing more laps than its Hypercar rivals.



TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will use the next two days to rebuild the cars, as well as fine-tuning set-ups and strategies before the first two free practice sessions on Wednesday. Qualifying, the first competitive session of the new season, will take place on Thursday and the 1000 Miles of Sebring begins on Friday at midday local time (5pm CET).




- Toyota Gazoo Racing also photos




Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/toyota-gazoo-racing-prologue-pace---248462.html

13.03.2023 / MaP

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