Mike Conway makes his much-anticipated LMP1-H debut this weekend aboard the No. 7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid, which he’ll share with Stephane Sarrazin and Alexander Wurz.
Conway fills in for Kazuki Nakajima, as the Le Mans polesitter is on Super Formula assignment this weekend.
The reserved Englishman was meant to have a fully fledged balance of prototype and open-wheel racing in 2014, but as it’s turned out, Saturday’s FIA WEC Six Hours of the Circuit of The Americas will mark his first prototype start of any kind since the 2013 season finale in Bahrain, which he won in LMP2.
The departure of Millennium Racing from the FIA WEC grid before the season has been something of a blessing in disguise for Conway.
He was better able to integrate himself into the Toyota Racing fold as test and reserve driver, attend the opening rounds of the FIA WEC season and prepare himself for this opportunity.
“It’s been good to be back up to speed, after driving an IndyCar in-between,” Conway told Sportscar365. “You switch off, switch on, then remember how this car has to be driven.”
Conway’s most recent test came a bit more than a month ago at Magny-Cours in France, and he also spent some time at the team’s Cologne headquarters on the simulator.
Although he wasn’t a fan of the conditions and poor visibility during Thursday night’s 90-minute Free Practice 2, Conway did praise the car’s handling during the session.
That’s important to note considering the majority of today’s race will be run under the lights.
“The track is very much the same this year to last, and it’s surprising how much grip you have in the wet,” Conway said. “(Thursday) night was really bad I have to say. I had to guess where I was. And if you’re fast, and the car is, you don’t want to guess!”
Considering he’s not in the championship, Conway’s goals this weekend are to assist co-drivers Wurz and Sarrazin, turn the car over in one piece, and prove to the wider sports car community at large his ability in his LMP1 debut.
Right now, Conway is just confirmed for this race, although there is strong potential he will race at least once more this season.
“At the moment it’s just this one; possibly another but we’ll see,” Conway said.