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Davidson: “Bittersweet” Season for Toyota “Hurts Quite a Lot”

Anthony Davidson reflects on Toyota’s win-laden season that comes without a championship…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Anthony Davidson described Toyota Gazoo Racing’s FIA World Endurance Championship campaign as “bittersweet” after failing to capture either world title despite the team claiming five race wins across the course of the season.

Toyota appeared to have the march on the rival Porsche team at the start of the season as Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima won the opening two races at Silverstone and Spa in the No. 8 Toyota TS050.

A disastrous Le Mans saw all three Toyotas suffer reliability woes, allowing Porsche’s No. 2 crew to win the race and pull clear at the top of the championship thanks to the double points on offer at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Porsche wrapped up both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in Shanghai with one race to spare, leaving Toyota empty-handed for the third straight season despite signing off in Bahrain with a fifth win for the No. 8 Toyota.

“It has been a little bit disappointing to win five races, and to have not wrapped up any championship or Le Mans. It is a bit of a bittersweet season,” Davidson told Sportscar365.

“We had lots of speed at certain points, but also struggled at certain points.

“Reliability hit us in Le Mans, all three cars, and that’s one we can’t forget. That’s always really the main focus of the season, and once again we failed to achieve.

“I think that stays with you through to the end. Even if you have a disappointing rest of the season, if you’ve won Le Mans, it makes up for everything and more.

“Although the individual race victories are sweet, you’re left with a bit of a bad taste in some respects, because try as you might, you failed pretty much on all accounts to walk away with something substantial.

“Winning at home at Fuji was always a bit of a high. Our last race in Shanghai where we showed the most dominance of any car all the way through this season so far was also a high point.

“But these small peaks don’t make up for the fundamental disappointment I guess of what could have been or what should have been, and that hurts quite a lot.”

Cat Caution Causes Broken Toe

Davidson completed the penultimate stint of the race in Bahrain for Toyota, albeit with a broken toe after accidentally kicking a door while running to the car after a Full Course Yellow was planned when a cat was spotted on the circuit.

“It’s ridiculous, isn’t it! I broke my toe by kicking the door by running to the car a bit too hastily,” Davidson said.

“It often happens when you get a potential Full Course Yellow that you have to spring into action and leg it to the car.

“So that’s what I did, but unfortunately I stubbed my toe on a door and thought ‘ooh that hurt’, and carried on getting worse and worse through the stint.

“It was pretty difficult to maintain enough braking energy recovery as the stint went on. I didn’t want to spend too long on the pedal.”

Davidson finishes the WEC season third in the overall drivers’ championship for Toyota, 40 points shy of the winning Porsche crew.

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.

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