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Toyota Leads Prologue After Eight Hours

Toyota tops opening stanza of FIA WEC Prologue pre-season test…

Photo: MPS Agency

Mike Conway held the fastest lap for Toyota after eight hours of running at the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue.

Conway’s time of 1:32.662 around the 3.6-mile Circuit Paul Ricard put the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid on top of the LMP1 pile heading into the night portion of the 30-hour test.

Toyota ended Friday 1-2, as Anthony Davidson turned in a 1:34.655 to go second.

Its No. 7 car completed 220 laps before the close of eight hours, while the No. 8 Toyota accumulated 92 laps.

The Japanese manufacturer’s table-topping car is running the Prologue in Le Mans high-downforce specification, while the sister machine, which is entered into the full round-the-clock run, is in low-downforce.

Conway delivered his best attempt in the seventh hour, pushing out the gap between Toyota and the fastest non-hybrid entry to 5.466 seconds.

The best of the privateers was the No. 11 SMP Racing BR1 AER, which ended on a 1:38.128.

SMP’s sister car finished fourth quickest, two tenths up on the Rebellion R13 Gibson which saw late improvements with Andre Lotterer at the controls.

Both SMP Racing BR1s are running the Prologue in low-downforce configuration, while the DragonSpeed-run BR1, which lapped sixth, is in high-downforce spec.

In LMP2, Pastor Maldonado headed the order with a time of 1:40.771 behind the wheel of the DragonSpeed Oreca 07 Gibson.

On his first day of driving the car, the ex-Formula 1 driver shot to the top of the standings in the seventh hour, eclipsing Matthieu Vaxiviere’s run in the TDS Racing Oreca by four tenths.

Maldonado then shaved his time down further moments before the end of the day segment.

Andre Negrao sat third in the lone Signatech Alpine entry, ahead of the pair of Jackie Chan DC Racing Orecas.

The fastest non-Oreca lap thus far has come from the Racing Team Nederland Dallara P217, which trailed the class pace by 1.4 seconds.

Lietz Tops GTE-Pro for Porsche

Porsche and Ford exchanged fastest laps in the GTE-Pro category, with the former ultimately prevailing after eight hours with Richard Lietz’s 1:51.650 marker.

The Austrian leapfrogged the pair of Chip Ganassi-run Ford GTs, while the sister Porsche 911 RSR ended up fourth.

AF Corse’s No. 51 Ferrari 488 Evo rounded out the top five, ahead of the best of the new Aston Martin Vantages.

The fastest car in GTE-Am after eight hours was the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR with a time of 1:53.515.

With the first element of daytime running complete, the 15 entries confirmed for the full 30-hour endurance run will continue through the night.

No major incidents have been reported so far. 

The seven-hour Saturday segment, which is open to the public, takes place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. CEST.

RESULTS: Prologue (after eight hours)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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