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Toyota Shows Early Form at Le Mans

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    LM24 Test Day 1 - 2.jpg
    The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours preparations have begun in earnest, with the ever improving Toyota team taking first blood as the cars hit the track together for the first time.

    The three Toyota TS050 Hybrids topped out the times at the opening session of the Le Mans Test Day, with former Williams Grand Prix driver Kazuki Nakajima stopping the clocks at 3:20.778 to head the sister #7 of another ex Grand Prix driver and fellow Toyota recruit Kamui Kobayashi. With Japanese drivers Nakajima and Kobayashi at the front of the field it was left to the experienced Nico Lapierre and Co. to bring home the third Toyota a further second in arrears.

    Lapierre did the majority of the running in the #9 TS050 Hybrid as rookie teammates Yuji Kunimoto and multiple World Touring Car Champion Jose Maria Lopez concentrated on securing the minimum requirements to be accepted as rookies into the big race, with Lopez in particular taking to his new prototype home like and duck to water and setting the cars quickest time of the session, once again proving how versatile and competitive the Argentinian driver continues to be as he recovers from injury sustained earlier in the season.

    The previously dominant Porsche factory outfit suffered from a difficult opening day at Le Mans, with minor technical difficulties affecting both cars throughout the four hour session and even leading a stoppage out on track for the #2 919 Hybrid, eventually restarting and touring back to the pits to allow the team to analyse what is happening with the cars out on track.


    In the LMP 2 field it was another closely fought affair with just 2.5 seconds covering the top 12 competitors, headed by the Signatech Alpine Matmut squad running the currently dominant Oreca 07 Gibson car. Fastest of the non Oreca / Alpine 07's would be fourteenth placed United Autosports Ligier JSP217, some 3.7 seconds off the pace of the early class leaders.

    In LMGTE Pro the first blood surprisingly went to the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of the works Corvette Racing Team, finding themselves just 0.295 ahead of the new for 2017 Porsche 911 RSR as just under 7 tenths of a second covered the top seven cars during the session.

    LMGTE AM was equally close with just under two seconds separating the top 13 cars and again headed by the ever present Aston Martin squad of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda.

    Action continues tomorrow as the teams prepare for the big race in just under two weeks time.

    Full Test Times - Day One - Le Mans
    2017 Le Mans 24 Hour Opening Day Test Times.png

    You will be able to keep track of all the happenings from Le Mans right here at RaceDepartment by following the Motorsport Sub Forum right here at RaceDepartment. Its going to be a big event this year and we couldn't be more excited to get the action started on 17th and 18th June.

    LM24 Test Day 1 - 3.jpg LM24 Test Day 1 - 4.jpg LM24 Test Day 1 - 5.jpg LM24 Test Day 1 - 6.jpg

    Looking forward to Le Mans? Who would you like to see atop the podium at race end? Let us know in the comments section below!
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
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  2. darkelf1

    darkelf1

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    WEC the official game, when?......:cry::cry:
     
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  3. Timmy UK

    Timmy UK
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    Jackie Chan has a racing team..?
    Really?
    'Hong Kong Phooey number 1 superguy'..
     
  4. Azure Flare

    Azure Flare
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    Those 3 cars in LMP2 running Michelin tires are rebels. I like that.
     
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  5. Rodent

    Rodent
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    After last years heartbreak I can't help but root for Toyota this year. Just remember to finish first you need to finish and all that.

    LMGTE field is the one I will follow the most closely, have my doubt those results will stand once the sands of time have shifted. Would be great if 'Vette and AMR will be up there challenging for the win this year though. Nicki Thiims setup videos/general sim racing shenanigans makes me root for them a bit more even if I wouldn't be upset if Ferrari happens to win.
     
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  6. Akra

    Akra
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    He's had a team for a while. Was involved in the Maxi DC team, has a team over in AsLMS too. The WEC cars are being run by Jota.

    What was far more telling about Toyota wasn't the sheer speed, but the stint times. They were doing 3:20s throughout an entire stint, AND the stint was 14 laps. We didn't expect to see 14 lap stints at that speed. That Toyota wasn't just on qualifying runs, that was properly fast.
     
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  7. Rodent

    Rodent
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    Toyota was fast enough to win last year too...
     
  8. Akra

    Akra
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    Well yeah, but not with this size of gap. The Toyota has taken a big leap over the winter whilst it appears the Porsche has not. Interesting that the Porsche and Dallara LMP2s seem a bit harder to setup, and both of them have taken numerous points from last years Audi. Seems as though that setup always has potential but its very hard to get right. Toyota being faster and doing more laps per stint turns into a huge advantage by the end. I'd actually hazard a guess that if last years car had this performance gap, then it'd have won even with the problems.

    Toyota have also brought another car of course, to try and cover off any technical problems.
     
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  9. Rodent

    Rodent
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    Oh I agree they look poised to win and they really deserve it after last years heartbreak. But it's endurance racing any anything can happen... Well perhaps not Audi making the podium again.
     
  10. Eckhart von Glan

    Eckhart von Glan

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    i will root for michel vaillante :) it's just so much fun to see your 70s teenage comic hero on the grid, lol.
     
  11. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    I hope Toyota get the win this year.

    I'm a Mazda fan and it's nice to have that "only Japanese winner" tag but that was very cruel for Totoya last year and they deserved the win.

    Porsche have been slightly slower than Toyota all year but their trick shot is strategy, they are still faster on stops and making up time in the pits so Toyota had better watch out for that. Having a faster car is only one piece of the puzzle it seems this year.

    Rooting for the Aston team in GTE, the Ford times are interesting though. It all got very political in GTE-PRO last year with the BoP so I hope it doesn't happen again in 2017.

    A little shout out too for the Bykolles team. I know we give them some stick on here but to be 6 seconds off the slowest Porsche around a lap like Le Mans isn't half bad. Well done.
     
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  12. el chasco

    el chasco

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    Dalla Lana the crasher again? xD

    Go go toyota!! Win this edition and more!!!
     
  13. ThatRacingGuy

    ThatRacingGuy
    I drove 88 MPH last night... weird stuff happened

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    Toyota Shows Early Form At Le Mans.

    And now i wanna see if they can get Late Pace on Le Mans Aswell.

    (Porsche fan here xD)
     
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  14. samcar304

    samcar304
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    Quite scared about the Toyota pace... Not that i don't want them to win. But I feel the only reason they are still in WEC is to win Le Mans. Once that happens i feel they will leave and it will just be Porsche. Which will ultimately end the LMP1 class for a while. :(
     
  15. el chasco

    el chasco

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    I don't think so.
     
  16. samcar304

    samcar304
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    Yeah, I maybe thinking of the absolute worst case scenario there... I'm still hurting since Audi left :( I just don't want to see LMP1 die, Its just too good for that.

    Although i would love Toyota to win. It was heartbreaking stuff last year.
     
  17. Eckhart von Glan

    Eckhart von Glan

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    lmp1 is awesome, but look at the lmp2 grid, that's where they pay the piper. one should scrap lmp1 and gtam and just have gt3s with the odd paydriver tucked in and lmp2s. enough talent and professionalism in both classes to make races worthwhile
     
  18. Akra

    Akra
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    Most LMP2 teams wouldn't survive with an all pro line up, same with GTE Am. These classes exist because they enforce an amateur driver who can fund the team.

    I love GT3 but there's already too much bop at Le Mans. Nurburgring and Spa last year were political BoP battles. I'd rather not see le mans turned into the same thing.
     
  19. Azure Flare

    Azure Flare
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    All because of "the $5 part". Hopefully, that part was $10 this year.
     
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  20. daveds3

    daveds3
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    I really hope Toyota do it this year, they deserve a win.
     
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