Toyota and Corvette top Le Mans test day

June 4, 2017

Toyota and Corvette top Le Mans test day

June 4, 2017

Toyota may have suffered heartbreak at the end of last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans but their speed at this year’s Le Mans test day has demonstrated the Japanese brand is out to make amends for last year.

Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest lap of the day in the No. 7 TS050 Hybrid he shares with Mike Conway and Stéphane Sarrazin. His time of 3mins 18.132secs was more than five seconds quicker than the best Toyota lap at the 2016 test day.

The No. 8 Toyota of World Championship leaders Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima was second quickest, 1.887secs behind following a positive day of set-up development and tyre comparisons.

There were three Toyotas at the top of the timing sheets, with Nicolas Lapierre, Yuji Kunimoto and José María López putting the No. 9 car in third spot.

“It was a smooth start to our 2017 Le Mans,” Kamui Kobayashi said.

“We tried to improve the car for the race and it went well. The lap time, which is our best ever in the test day, is very competitive but we still have work to do because it’s a 24-hour race and Porsche are a tough competitor.

“Let’s see what we can do.”

Corvette Racing set the pace in the GTE-Pro class with Oliver Gavin topping the times in the No. 64 entry with Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler.

“We had a good morning session. We managed to get Marcel (Fässler) in the car for two hours and he was immediately on the pace, which was good given how quick the track was,” Gavin said.

“He’d arrived this morning from Zolder (where he is racing in the Blancpain GT series], drove our car for two hours and then walked across the street to catch a plane back to Zolder.

“Tommy and I then concentrated on getting through our usual program. The car felt pretty good with just some balance issues to sort out. We also went through the various tire options, to see which one works best.”

Gavin’s time came after an engine change for the No. 64 car in the afternoon. Porsche was second and third fastest with the lap of 3m54.996s from Frederic Makowiecki in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR heading the times for the German marque.

After dominating last year’s race. Ford and Ferrari filled the bottom portion of the GTE-Pro timesheet with the Ferrari leading the four Fords.



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