Toyota TS030 Hybrid testing at Le Mans

The Toyota TS030 Hybrid made its Le Mans debut this past weekend during the event's single day test session on Sunday, marking the first time a Toyota prototype has run at Cirque De La Sarthe since the GT-One, codenamed TS020, competed at the 24 hour race in '98 and '99.

It was no surprise that Audi ran the fastest times during the two practice sessions - the pair of Audi R18 E-Tron Quattros nabbed the top spots - but there is little doubt that Toyota considers their results to be positive. After all, success in racing, particularly for a brand-new car at Le Mans, can be defined in a variety of ways. The quickest TS030 Hybrid ran just a little over a second behind the top Audi (3:27.204 vs 3:25.927), a time that is more than competitive.

"We are continuously adjusting and improving the system, so each test day brings a step forward and that was true again today," said Hisatake Murata, the team's project leader.

You can see the Toyota TS030 Hybrid in action at Le Mans in the gallery above, or scroll down below to read the official announcement from Toyota Motorsport GmbH.
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TOYOTA Racing's pair of TS030 HYBRID cars achieved another milestone today by successfully participating in the traditional test day to prepare for the Le Mans 24 Hours on 16-17 June.

For the first time, TOYOTA Racing had two cars in action, having completed all testing so far with only the #7 car. A brief shakedown for the #8 car on Friday capped a huge effort from the team at Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) to complete the car in time for the test.

Both TS030 HYBRIDs, displaying their new TOYOTA hybrid-blue livery, were in action immediately when the lights went green at 9am, beginning another new chapter for the team with its first multi-car test.

The complete driver line-up for car #7 of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima took part in the test while the #8 featured Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi.

It was decided that Stéphane Sarrazin should miss today's activities to give him additional time to recover from cuts and bruises sustained in a cycling accident. Stéphane will return to driving duties for TOYOTA Racing for the Le Mans race week.

One priority for today's test was for Le Mans newcomers Kazuki and Sébastien to complete the mandatory 10 laps required to allow participation in the race. This was comfortably achieved in the morning.

Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: "Today was a significant step for us because it was our first chance to see the car on track against our opposition at Le Mans. It's hard to judge lap times but it certainly strengthens our racing spirit. Overall we are satisfied to complete a full day's running with both cars without any significant issue; the only interruptions came with some minor bodywork damage. Unfortunately we only had five drivers with us following Stéphane's accident. But he's an experienced driver so we have no concerns; he'll be on top form for the race I'm sure."

Hisatake Murata, Hybrid Project Leader: "To see the TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing on track at Le Mans is a day we have been anticipating for a long time. We are continuously adjusting and improving the system, so each test day brings a step forward and that was true again today. The combination of downshifting, braking and charging is really working in harmony; it's like an elaborate dance. I would like to express my thanks to all the guys at Cologne and Higashifuji who have worked so hard to prepare for this. From a personal point of view, today really brought back memories of my last time working as part of a TOYOTA team here. I was engine engineer for the #33 TS010 back in 1992 when we finished in second place, so after a 20-year break it's great to be back."