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Vasselon: Toyotas Ran Outside of EoT Rules at Prologue

Vasselon: Toyota TS050 Hybrids ran outside of LMP1 EoT technical regs on Friday…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon has confirmed that both Toyota TS050 Hybrids ran outside of the FIA’s Equivalence of Technology rules in the opening day of the Prologue at Paul Ricard, when it set the quickest times of the weekend.

The No. 8 Toyota of Mike Conway ended the two-day FIA World Endurance Championship pre-season test on top of the time sheets with a 1:32.662 lap time set in Hour 7 on Friday afternoon, 1.9 seconds quicker than the sister No. 7 car of Anthony Davidson.

The two Toyotas were more than five seconds clear of the LMP1 non-hybrids, and some four seconds faster than the pace-setting LMP1 lap time from the Paul Ricard test two years ago.

Vasselon explained they went through a “really wide” program that included testing its new-for-2018 cooling system, which required an increase in hybrid power due to lower-than-expected ambient temperatures.

“We had a new cooling system to validate and during winter we knew it was not possible,” he said. “We were hoping a bit higher temperature, so we had been stressing our cooling systems.

“It happens that when you want to stress the hybrid system, you have to ask for a little bit more than what is allowed.

“Then we came back within the usual limits and had a trouble-free run.”

While both cars ran outside of the FIA’s issued EoT for the Prologue, it’s understood to have been permitted in the rules, as cars do not go through scrutineering.

“We are running short on hot weather validation so it was better to do it on both cars,” Vasselon said. “It was planned in case were were not able to trigger the right temperatures.”

The cars completed its cooling system validation on Friday evening and returned to the defined Prologue specification for the remainder of the test, although consistently lapped in the 1:38-1:39 range. 

They combined to complete 1,002 laps over the 30-hour test, totaling more than 3,600 miles.

EoT “Extremely Difficult” to Predict

Vasselon said it was difficult to judge the current state of EoT ahead of next month’s season-opener at Spa.

He denied allegations that the Japanese manufacturer deliberately ran the cars out of compliance to push the LMP1 non-hybrids to its limits.

“It’s an extremely difficult topic because you have to take into account a huge list of parameters,” Vasselon said of the EoT.

“We have very competent people in the [ACO/FIA] office looking at it, nearly day and night. I know they stayed very late yesterday and [came back] early today. They have all of the data.

“With what has happened over these two days, they have all the data to make a conclusion. We fully trust what will happen.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. The Esses

    April 7, 2018 at 11:43 am

    This is very interesting indeed. Just how much does the Toyota have in its pocket? Does anyone know what the EoT is set at in terms of what setup they would have to run in a race v. what they ran in the test? Interested to know just how much extra car they were permitted to run when they set a 5s gap to the competition. I would also expect the Rebellion to be a much stronger showing within a few races, by Le Mans though? I’m less confident, they are very behind. The 2019 running should be more interesting though…

    • AF

      April 7, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Their EOT will be nowhere near what they ran for the first half of the season. Toyota have performance in hand, but it certainly isn’t four seconds.

      Don’t forget, the SMP car’s were also running in low-drag configuration, so it’s not very prudent to compare that time to Conway’s time in the high-downforce car. If I were SMP or Rebellion I would be satisfied with 2.3 seconds to an un-eot’ed Toyota.

      • AudiTT

        April 7, 2018 at 12:55 pm

        The Toyota’s running to the regulations did 1.38/39’s.

        Now I full expect the complaint Toyota is capable of 1.35/36. After all, the leading privateers nearly dipped into 1.36 with all new cars.

        • Jack

          April 8, 2018 at 11:03 am

          Have a look at the 2016 prologue results. Porsche was fastest at a 37.4. This might be closer than you think.

  2. Marc

    April 7, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    This is why you go to Sebring and test… Plenty warm there. Audi figured that out.

    • Max

      April 7, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      Yeah. Wasn’t Paul Ricard under icey conditions during the SRO BoP year a few weeks ago? A trip to Dubai or Florida seems like a better idea for a cooling system test.

      • daedalus

        April 7, 2018 at 8:38 pm

        Travel costs are too expensive to justify for a test. They could have gone to algarve or jerez that’s about as far south as you can do without needing sea or air freight. The prologue test is mandatory anyway and you can’t expect the privateers to shell out $30k for transport for a overseas test.

        • Matt

          April 8, 2018 at 1:25 am

          We’re talking about Toyota here. $30k is nothing to them. You would’ve thought they’d learned from their multiple failures at Le Mans and did some real testing at Sebring. Paul Ricard is as smooth as a baby’s a$$. They won’t learn anything there.

        • Max

          April 8, 2018 at 1:53 pm

          Sure but I’m talking about Toyota, not the privateers. Toyota seemed to be the only one on that sort of testing program. Unless I’ve misread the reporting it looks like only Factory efforts ran the whole 30 hours with other cars ducking in and out.

  3. angel

    April 7, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Their record tells the story which is not much in terms of accomplishments.

  4. TailsLeMans722

    April 7, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Apparently, if we take the non EoT times into account, the fastest Toyota would have finished the test fifth fastest, behind the two SMPS, the Rebellion and the ByKolles CLM.

    Then again, You can’t really predict what’s going to happen based on a single pre-season test, Especially over a “Super-Season”.

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