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Vasselon: LMP1 Hybrid Performance is “Known”

Toyota confident of performance at Le Mans despite evolving LMP1 non-hybrids…

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon says the performance of its Toyota TS050 Hybrid is “known” amid questions over the Equivalence of Technology heading into the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Sunday’s Le Mans Test Day will provide the first and only pre-event running ahead of race week, with uncertainty in the gap between the LMP1 hybrid and non-hybrids.

It comes amid a reduction in fuel flow for the privateers since last month’s FIA World Endurance Championship season-opening Total Six Hours of Spa.

With LMP1 rules stating that the Toyota remains the performance benchmark, and with no technical changes permitted from last year’s configuration, Vasselon has reiterated the TS050s will continue to show their full potential, despite EoT changes for the non-hybrids.

“From our side, our performance is known,” Vasselon said. “We cannot lie with our performance. At Spa, we knew which level of performance we had.

“Last year [at Le Mans] we did a bit better, here it should be the same. From our side, in the end, there is an EoT process which is something that happens beside us, which is done by the ACO and FIA.

“We can say that we trust them and everything they have done so far makes sense.”

Vasselon explained that Le Mans puts hybrid-powered LMP1s in a larger deficit to non-hybrids than at a track like Spa-Francorchamps, due to the long straights and fewer energy regeneration opportunities on the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe.

He said they had 55 percent more boost per kilometer of the track at Spa, compared with Le Mans, which is roughly twice the length.

“We run here with less boost and less fuel per kilometer,” said Vasselon. “This is what the new EoT reflects. It reflects the fact that we run here with less hybrid impact.

“We have more fuel starvation here and more fuel cuts. We also have less boost. So this is what participates to the difficulty of the exercise.

“The conditions are moving, and the WEC conditions are different to the Le Mans conditions. This is what they took into account. You can’t simulate.”

Despite the ACO establishing a target 0.5-second per lap advantage to the Toyotas at Le Mans, it’s unclear if that gap will be maintained heading into race week.

The final EoT, including declarations for the maximum petrol energy and maximum petrol per stint, will be defined following Sunday’s test, giving the rules-makers an opportunity to close a performance gap, if necessary.

“It’s not completely easy to capture the performance of the teams,” Vasselon said. “The non-hybrid teams are not totally ready, they are progressing, so I guess the ACO and FIA are factoring that.

“Every time they run they progress, because they have a big margin for progressing. We are already at our level.”

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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