Toyota Racing led from start to finish to claim the team’s first victory in just its third race, the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Drivers Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre started from pole position in the No7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid and dominated Saturday’s six-hour race, maintaining the car’s record of leading every race in which has competed.
The result is Toyota’s first victory in an FIA world championship event since the 1999 Rally of China (Didier Auriol/Denis Girardet in the Corolla WRC), and its first international endurance race success since Geoff Lees and Hitoshi Ogawa won at Monza in the TS010.
It is also another landmark in the history of Toyota’s development of hybrid technology for motorsport, a project launched in 2006 under Hisatake Murata, who is now the race team’s Hybrid Project Leader. In 2007 a Toyota Supra was the first hybrid race winner, taking honours at the Tokachi 24 Hours in Japan. Since then Toyota has extensively developed the pioneering supercapacitor technology, reducing weight and increasing power, to produce the unique powertrain for today’s TS030 Hybrid.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President said: “We know Audi will come back strongly in the next races so we are looking forward to continuing our close, and genuinely friendly, rivalry.”
The TS030 Hybrid was clearly the fastest car and as the race entered its final hour. A very short fuel stop for Lapierre with just a few minutes to go allowed him to take a well-deserved victory more than a minute clear of his nearest challenger.
Toyota Racing’s next action will be the Six Hours of Bahrain at the Bahrain International Circuit on 29 September when Wurz and Lapierre will again be driving the No7 TS030 Hybrid.