Filed under: Motorsports , Audi , Porsche , Toyota , Racing As is so often the case, the 2014 Le Mans was a war of attrition, and Audi managed to prevail once again after all 24 hours had been recorded in the history books, with its Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro claiming first and second places, followed by Toyota in third. Drivers Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer inherited the lead in their No. 2 Audi after the No. 7 Toyota, driven by pole-sitter Kazuki Nakajima, was forced to retire with electrical problems in the 15th hour. The No. 2 Audi led the race until it was forced to the pits to replace a turbocharger in the 17th hour, allowing the No. 1 Audi, driven by Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gene (who was a last-minute replacement for Loic Duval, who crashed hard during practice) and defending champion Tom Kristensen, led the race until the 21st hour, when it too had to pit with turbocharger issues. This gave the No. 20 Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber the lead until it was forced off the track with gearbox problems, eventually finishing in 38th position. In LMP2, the Jota Sport Zytek Z11SN-Nissan driven by Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Oliver Turvey claimed victory, the first five LMP2 finishers all powered by Nissan .
Filed under: Motorsports , Europe , Technology , Toyota , Specialty , Racing Toyota has polished up its TS030 hybrid Le Mans race car for the 2013 season. Once again, the machine uses a 530-horsepower 3.4-liter naturally aspirated V8 paired with a capacitor-based hybrid system with an additional 300 horsepower on hand. This year, engineers have tweaked the drivetrain to deliver more power and efficiency while bolstering reliability. The chassis has received a few updates of its own, though Toyota is keeping those changes under wraps for the time being. Fans can expect to see a new aerodynamic package at work on the prototype, and the chassis will conform to new regulations that increase the minimum weight of LMP1 cars by 33 pounds. Last year, the TS030 won three events over six races, but ran into a number of issues during the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans . The No. 8 Toyota suffered a spectacle of a crash that saw driver Anthony Davidson hospitalized with two fractured vertebra. And while the No. 7 car briefly held the lead over rival Audi , trouble in the pits and engine failure eventually saw that car sidelined as well.
Filed under: Motorsports , Coupe , Safety , Videos , Toyota , Racing The LMP1 racer standing on its nose is the No. 8 Toyota TS030 driven by Anthony Davidson, having just recently begun his driving stint and only five hours into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, while the red car next to it is the No. 81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Piergiuseppe Perrazini. Davidson took the inside line down the Mulsanne Straight, and based on the vantage point in the video, it looks like Davidson had got a decent chunk of the Toyota ahead of the Ferrari when Perrazini turned into him. The result were hard runs into the tire wall and the end of the race for both drivers. Davidson got out on his own but was sent to the hospital for observation until Monday morning, but thankfully Toyota has released a statement saying Davidson shows “no signs of any injuries.” However, reports indicate Davidson has fractured two vertebra, and he soon tweeted from the hospital “Well that was a big one! Lying in a French hospital with a broken back wasn’t what I had in mind at this stage in the race…” The safety car came out while the accident was cleared, but the Toyota team’s woes were compounded when the No. 7 TS030 driven by Kazuki Nakajima drove into the Nissan DeltaWing of Satoshi Motoyama on the restart. The contact sent the DeltaWing into the wall (and despite efforts to revive it, out of the race) and the No. 7 Toyota headed back to the pits for repairs and a steep drop down the order. As of this writing, Audi’s brace of R18 E-Tron Quattro racers appear to have the inside track on a victory.
Filed under: Motorsports , Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota F1 drivers typically have a shelf life shorter than what you otherwise might call a career. As the constant stream of new, young drivers usurps existing F1 seats, you’re left with a wealth of talent available to contest other forms of motorsport. That’s how you end up with former grand prix pilots in other series like IndyCar , DTM and even ice racing . Then there’s Le Mans . Every year the most famous of endurance races packs its grid with rejects from the Formula One circus, and 2012 is no exception, particularly with Toyota launching a works effort out of the German facility that used to house its F1 team. Toyota has already confirmed that the first of its TS030 Hybrid LMP1 racers will be driven by former F1 drivers Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima (along with Nicolas Lapierre), and has now announced that Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi are on the roster for the second car. Davidson is an established F1 test driver, having worked for the team known successively as BAR, Honda , Brawn and Mercedes . He’s also driven a handful of grands prix for Super Aguri and Minardi , and contested Le Mans and related series for Aston Martin Racing and Peugeot Sport , including a win at Sebring. Buemi drove the last three F1 seasons for Scuderia Toro Rosso until being cut this year. He’ll combine his endurance racing debut with his test driver role at Red Bull Racing .
Filed under: Motorsports , Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota Toyota is dead serious about its new Le Mans effort. To that end, the Japanese auto giant is developing an all-new hybrid LMP1 racer , it has retained the considerable services of Team Oreca to help with trackside logistics , and it has now announced its driver lineup. And make no mistake about it, these are no rookies. Headlining the roster is Alex Wurz, who holds the title as the youngest winner in the history of Le Mans. The Austrian driver won again for Peugeot two years ago, and he has also taken the checkered flag at the Petit Le Mans, the Spa 1,000km and the Sebring 12 Hours, to name just a few. And as if that weren’t enough, he’s also an accomplished former Formula One driver, having driven for and scored podium finishes for a variety of teams including Benetton, McLaren and Williams (though not Toyota). Joining Wurz will be Nicolas Lapierre, a French driver with a distinguished record in both lower formula racing (like F3 and A1GP) and endurance racing, including a win at Sebring this year. Finally, Toyota has added Kazuki Nakajima (one of Japan’s best F1 drivers of the modern era) to the team that will be developing and fielding the new LMP1 at La Sarthe and other FIA World Endurance Championship races next season. The car is expected to make its debut “early in the new year” at a yet-to-be-determined European venue. Continue reading Toyota recruits top drivers for new Le Mans program Toyota recruits top drivers for new Le Mans program originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Nov 2011 18:20:00 EST.