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Toyota with three cars in Le Mans: López new to the LMP1 team

Toyota with three cars in Le Mans
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Toyota is serious. The long-awaited Le Mans title should finally come in 2017. To this end, the Japanese are expanding their LMP1 commitment. Toyota will field three LMP1 cars at both the WEC round in Spa (May 6), which is the last race before the 24-hour classic, and at Le Mans itself (June 17). So far, the team with the motorsport base in Cologne has only sent two racers to the marathon twice around the clock since 2012. According to information from a uto motor und sport , however, the main competitor Porsche remains with two vehicles. Just like last year, when the decision was made to forego a third car for cost reasons like Audi.

Three cars at Le Mans improve chances of victory

With three TS050 Hybrids, Toyota expects better chances of victory. The Le Mans track and the long distance are known to put the material to the limit. And often beyond that too. Technical defects are the result. In addition, driving errors and accidents in the dense turmoil with competitors, LMP2 and GT cars can never be ruled out. Hence the simple calculation: With three teams there is a greater chance that a car will survive the 24-hour race unharmed.

“Getting three cars to the start in Spa and Le Mans poses a new challenge for us Team. But we are working hard and we are ambitious to compete well prepared and to win, ”says team president Toshio Sato. So far, as a Japanese manufacturer, only Mazda has achieved the big coup in the 24h race on the Sarthe in 1991. Toyota has been chasing a success so far. And often wept bitter tears at Le Mans. The end of last year in particular will be remembered when the leading TS050 Hybrid was eliminated in the final minutes due to a problem with the turbocharger.

López together with Conway and Kobayashi

also lays with the drivers Toyota after. The Japanese have signed José María López. The Argentine last drove in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and won three drivers' titles in a row with Citroën. “I would like to welcome José María to the team, I am sure that he will settle in well. Because he's fast, intelligent and a strong team player, ”praises Sato. López is looking forward to his new role. “Driving an LMP1 is so different from the cars in the WTCC,” says the 33-year-old, who also competes in Formula E for DS Virgin Racing. “The performance and grip of the TS050 Hybridare incredible, and the hybrid technology is impressive. ”

López shares the car with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi. For this, Stéphane Sarrazin has to vacate his place in the cockpit. The Frenchman moves into the third car. It is not yet known who shares the TS050 with him. In contrast, the occupation of the second car is known. Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima hope to finally win this year after the drama in 2016.


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