Although they won’t be at Spa for round two of the World Endurance Championship the Toyota TS030 hybrid will be a the track this weekend.
The team will complete a functionality test of its new chassis at the Magny-Cours circuit in France.
Following the accident at Paul Ricard on 4 April, which damaged the monocoque of the first TS030, the team has worked hard to accelerate production of a second car. This will be completed directly before transportation to the one-day functionality test.
A total of seven test days were cancelled in April as a result of the testing accident, giving the team no opportunity to validate the aerodynamic and hybrid system specifications intended for its first race.
So the team had no choice but to miss the WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps event, which takes place on 3-5 May.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “I would like to express my thanks to the staff members at Toyota Motorsport GmbH who have worked so hard to deliver our second monocoque ahead of schedule. Now we have a very intense testing programme to prepare for Le Mans, beginning with an initial functionality test to shakedown our systems.”
Toyota Racing’s first race will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 16-17 June, where the team will enter two TS030 hybrid cars.
The second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (5th May) will see the debut of both new Audi R18; the e-tron quattro and R18 ultra.
The hybrid R18 uses the Williams F1 designed flywheel KERS system to provide extra power to the front wheels under acceleration.
While the new R18 Ultra is an evolution of the Le Mans winning car of last year.
With Peugeot out and Toyota not at Spa, one would think it a “lay down misere” for Audi. But with two unproved cars under race conditions, and with the Audi team clearly focused on the June classic at Le Sarthe, the time could be right for a major upset from one of the petrol powered LMP1 teams to pounce.
Like Toyota, the Pescarolo team’s new prototype will also not make the race at Spa.
The Pescarolo 03 Judd is designed around the ill fated Aston Martin AMR-One tub, but a hold up in production due to “delayed payment deadlines” from its major partner, “blocked the delivery of some important elements from suppliers in England,” according to a team statement.
Pescarolo Team, which currently leads the FIA Trophy for the top privateer team in LMP1, will still be present at Spa with its Dome S102.5 Judd for the experienced pairing of Sebastian Bourdais and Nicolas Minassian. The two Frenchmen will be joined by Seiji Ara for Le Mans, the second and final race in the Japanese car’s announced program.
Taking on the Pescarolo challenge will be OAK Racing’s regular two-car WEC roster, plus an additional LMP2 entry. Guillaume Moreau, Dominik Kraihamer and home favourite Bertrand Baguette are all hoping to build on their solid showing at Sebring in March where the #15 OAK-Pescarolo LMP1 demonstrated strong pace amongst its petrol-powered rivals.
A class podium at Sebring also made for an excellent start to the Oak Automotive designed and built Morgan 2012 LMP2 programme, especially after the #24 car driven by Jacques Nicolet, Matthieu Lahaye and Olivier Pla had taken pole position and set fastest race lap. Spa offers the trio another opportunity to demonstrate the car’s pace starting, as they do, amongst the favourites for victory.
With the Le Mans 24 Hours now just seven weeks away, OAK Racing will also field a second Morgan 2012 LMP2 at Spa for home hero Bas Leinders and co-driver David Heinemeier Hansson in preparation for La Sarthe. Indeed, two days after the race (May 7) the line-up’s second Belgian ace, Maxime Martin, will join the pair at Spa for further testing.
Spa will also see the European debut of Aston Martin’s new GTE challenger the Vantage. After last year’s LMP 1 debacle the team will be looking for a much better run this year in the lead up to Le Mans.
They will have plenty of competition though from the likes of Ferrari and Porsche.
The Spa 6 hours takes place this weekend. Check out In Pit Lane.com for details of telecasts here in Australia and live streaming options.
With Toyota, Oak Racing, WEC and Aston Martin Media Releases.