F1 Fanatic - World Endurance Championship
Toyota will postpone their debut in the World Endurance Championship after their only TS030 chassis was damaged in a crash in testing at Paul Ricard.
Here’s the press release from the team:
Toyota Racing regrets to announce that, as a result of a testing accident, it is not able to participate in the WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
During testing at Paul Ricard, on Wednesday 4 April, the TS030 HYBRID was involved in an accident which damaged the team’s only monocoque.
Regrettably this damage is too severe to repair. A replacement monocoque cannot be produced and sufficiently tested to ensure reliability within the limited time available.
Therefore Toyota Racing has informed the organizers of the FIA World Endurance Championship of its decision to withdraw from the WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, due to be held on 5 May. The team will make its first appearance at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Toyota Racing Team President: “We are deeply saddened to announce this decision and our sympathies are with the drivers, team members and fans who have been anticipating the Spa race so eagerly. Since the accident we have looked into all options but unfortunately there is no alternative course of action open to us.”
Toyota Racing will now urgently prepare a new monocoque to allow it to resume testing as soon as possible and prepare itself for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
I was looking forward to that car debuting.
The FIA were quick off the mark with a press release proclaiming “Spa Grid Reaches 42 Car Maximum Capacity” but they’re not hiding their disappointment over Toyota:
“While it is disappointing for everyone concerned, we fully support Toyota’s decision to withdraw their car for Spa following the unfortunate accident at Le Castellet last week in which the TS030 monocoque was damaged. We have to remember this is a brand new project and Toyota was originally not intending to be a full WEC entrant. The company have done a fantastic job to expand their plans and with six of the eight rounds counting for the World Championship, Toyota can still take the fight to Audi.”
The entry list has 11 LMP1s, 16 LMP2s, 5 LM GTE Professionals and 10 LM GTE Amateurs.
Among the LMP1s is a second HPD ARX 03a for JRM, noted as “Subject to the receipt of the licence”.
Audi are running their R18 e-tron quattro for the first time with a pair of cars for Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler and McNish/Kristensen/Capello. They also have a pair of R18 Ultras.
Oh, and the Pescarolo Dome in the hands of Sebastien Bourdais, Nicolas Minassian and a third driver TBA.
I wonder which Audi type will prove quickest. If the Ultra looks fastest I wonder if Audi’s star team will move into that for le Mans.
I’m not an expert of endurance racing but couldn’t it be that Toyota just feel that the car is not quick and / or reliable enough yet and that the crash is just whitewash? It sounds possible when I remember Aston Martin’s disastrous start last year.
@matt90 Impossible, they’ve already established their driver line-ups.
@girts The crash was already being reported about more than a week ago by sportscar journalists, so it’s not whitewash. Latest word is that the crash was due to water in the electronics, and with fly-by-wire throttle, that electronic problem could well have led to a stuck throttle. I suspect that some redesign is needed for that purpose and it won’t be ready in time for Spa.
And Keith: third driver in the Dome for Le Mans is Seiji Ara, but he won’t be at Spa and as far as I’m aware there will not be a replacement driver there.
Team policy, and the fact that Lotterer and McNish were selected as designated drivers for the two e-tron R18s when the entries were submitted (this is the third year of this rule I believe). Those drivers can’t be changed under normal circumstances.
There’s been a worrying amount of big crashes in LMP1 testing lately, but I guess that’s the nature of testing prototypes and trying to find the limits of aerodynamics.
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