Toyota Gazoo Racing will head to Le Mans on a high.
Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) revealed its new hybrid hypercar, the GR010, in January. With Le Mans on the horizon, TGR must be feeling especially confident after the GR010 scored a victory at this past weekend's 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
A stern test of the hypercar's performance and dependability, the GR010 did the team proud and is now a front-runner in the newly introduced Hypercar class as part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Two GR010's took part in the race with the other one scoring third place and another spot on the podium for TGR.
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota and Team Founder of Toyota Gazoo Racing, praised the efforts of the drivers.
"I really would like to say thank you to all six drivers and the team members for raising our expectations about the big potential, speed and strength of this car," said Toyoda.
He emphasized the super 2:00.747 lap time set by Kamui Kobayashi in car #7 during qualifying, allowing a pole position start. However, car #7 had "several setbacks" during the race and slipped back to third, so it was car #8 - with the team of Brendon Hartley, Kazuki Nakajima, and Sebastien Buemi - that came out on top.
Toyoda noted that the team would continue "searching for more reliability and security" in forthcoming races.
Toyota was prevented from stealing both the top 2 spots by the Alpine A480 piloted by the Alpine Elf Matmut team. Despite Toyota's #7 car running off the track at one stage and several other issues, the team will be thrilled with its 671-horsepower hypercar. It uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine and a motor-generator unit, with power going to all four wheels.
For the rest of us wanting to park something more accessible with a GR badge in the garage, the all-new GR 86 was recently unveiled and remains the simple rear-wheel-drive sports car we have always appreciated. Although it makes just 231 hp, the GR spirit seems to be very much alive in the latest 86 and we can't wait to drive it.