As expected, Toyota Gazoo Racing has opted for a split aero approach for this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship round at Spa, in the debut of its third Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
Both of the full-season Nos. 7 and 8 entries will remain in high-downforce configuration for the second round of the season, with the newly added No. 9 car of Stephane Sarrazin, Nico Lapierre and Yuji Kunimoto debuting the Japanese manufacturer’s low-downforce kit ahead of next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Toyota is coming off victory in last month’s season-opener with Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, following a hard-fought race with Porsche, which will keep both of its 919 Hybrids in low-downforce trim for Spa.
“Our high-downforce TS050 Hybrid performed very well at Silverstone, but Spa is a different circuit so we have been working hard to get ready,” said Team President Toshio Sato.
“This year we have three cars for the first time, which gives us a chance to try out our low-downforce car in race conditions. We have tested it extensively over the winter, so this weekend we are taking another step in our Le Mans preparations.”
For Sarrazin, who has been moved from the team’s full-season lineup to the third entry for Spa and Le Mans, his car will be fully focused on preparation for next month’s French endurance classic.
“The most important thing for our car this weekend is to prepare ourselves properly for Le Mans,” he said.
“We need to get a lot of data about the low-downforce car and fine-tune the teamwork in our first race together.”
While Spa will mark Japanese star Kunimoto’s LMP1 race debut, 2014 World Champions Buemi and Davidson are coming off their first victory in nearly three years and will be looking for continued success.
“After the victory in Silverstone, I hope we can fight for a win again but we are expecting even tougher competition from Porsche,” Davidson said.
“Weather can be a factor at Spa; we have had nice weather in the race recently but you never know. Our car is generally very good in the wet so we are ready for anything.”