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Toyota Concerned by GR010’s Spa “Raceability”

Toyota technical director David Floury has muted expectations for 6H Spa-Francorchamps after tough qualifying…

Photo: Javier Jimenez/DPPI

Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director David Floury has expressed concerns about the GR010 Hybrid’s “raceability” ahead of Saturday’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

The two Toyota crews suffered a difficult qualifying session on Friday, and will line up sixth and 14th on the grid for the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship following the disqualification of the polesitting No. 50 Ferrari.

Brendon Hartley had been second-fastest in the first part of qualifying on the medium tire aboard the No. 8 Toyota, but he struggled much more on the soft tire in Hyperpole, ending up almost a second slower than Antonio Fuoco’s later-disallowed pole time.

Kamui Kobayashi meanwhile failed to escape the opening segment in the No. 7 car and admitted to making mistakes on his best lap.

Speaking on Friday evening prior to Ferrari’s disqualification, Floury highlighted Toyota’s lack of top speed as something that will make it challenging to come through the pack.

Prior to qualifying, the best top speed recorded by a GR010 Hybrid was 312.3 km/h, compared to the chart-topping No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R’s benchmark of 315.9 km/h.

“The first session with Brendon was quite good, it was a very good lap for sure,” said Floury. “But the Hyperpole with the soft, we struggled.

“We didn’t run [the soft in practice] because we were focused on race preparation. It was moving quite a lot, it was not easy. We would have liked to start in a better position, but we have to fight from way back now.

“This track is a bit easier to overtake [than Imola], but still the top speed difference makes it not easy to fight with the other Hypercars. The ‘raceability’ is poor.”

‘Raceability’ is a word Floury used speaking to reporters on Wednesday when discussing the so-called Power Gain rule, which gives cars more or less power above 210 km/h as part of the Balance of Performance process.

The system is again not in use this weekend, and Toyota has previously stated it wants to see the system adopted as soon as possible.

“As expected, we have Ferrari, Porsche and Cadillac in front of us, so it’s no surprise,” continued Floury. “And when Porsche is in front of us, we have many Porsches in front of us [including customers Hertz Team JOTA and Proton Competition].

“We never give up before the checkered flag, we will fight as hard as we can. But the pace we’ve seen in free practice is in line with what we have seen all season, and the starting position makes it challenging for sure.”

Kobayashi meanwhile said he felt he wouldn’t have been able to qualify any higher than Hartley’s eventual sixth place had he been able to get the No. 7 car he shares with Mike Conway and Nyck de Vries through to Hyperpole.

The Japanese driver added that he and his teammates, who sit second in the championship heading to Spa following their surprise win last month at Imola, are in “damage limitation” mode regarding their title chances.

“I think we have not enough pace,” he said. “Unfortunately I think the group is getting closer to the top group.

“We were not strong in Qatar, and we were not strong in Imola [on pace]. Here we expected it to be not easy, which is how it is.”

Hartley, meanwhile, offered a somewhat more upbeat assessment of Toyota’s race day chances, as he and teammates Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa target a podium from sixth on the grid.

“Porsche and Ferrari look quick, especially Ferrari,” said Hartley. “Everyone will have high tire degradation, so there will be a lot of management.

“It’s hard to say where we are on pace because the tire degradation was so high in practice, it was hard to tell who was doing what. But I think we’re in the mix to hopefully challenge for a podium.”

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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