Toyota Finishes Le Mans Testing in 1st and 2nd
Toyota Racing must collectively be feeling pretty confident heading into the upcoming 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, which begins less than two weeks from now. The team ended Sunday’s official Le Mans test day with the first and second fastest times overall, leading rivals Audi and Porsche. In the hands of Sebastien Buemi, the No. 8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid claimed the top time of the four-hour session with a quick lap of 3:23.014. The No. 7 TS040 sister car, driven by Kazuki Nakajima, posted the second fastest time at just 0.142 seconds slower. Audi took away the third and fourth spots on the timesheets, led by a 3:24.453 fast lap by Marco Bonanomi. Porsche ended up with fifth and six at the end of the session, led by Neel Jani’s 3:24.692. RELATED: See more photos of the 2014 Toyota TS040 Hybrid
The times are remarkably close for the top three LMP1 teams – separated by less than two seconds – especially considering the lengthy 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, but Toyota’s class-leading pace is only part of the equation. The team will start its engines on June 14, already possessing both prior race wins on the season: first and second at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, as well as first and third at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
That momentum will be necessary if Toyota plans to stay out ahead of Audi, which has claimed 12 wins at Le Mans since 2000. But 24 hours of hard racing on any circuit, especially one as demanding as this, is a surefire way to expose a few cracks in a car’s reliability. The stage is set for quite an interesting race.
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