Porsche "could not match" Toyota Le Mans test pace

Porsche LMP1 team boss Andreas Seidl admits his outfit “could not match” the pace set by Toyota during Sunday’s official Le Mans 24 Hours test day.

Porsche "could not match" Toyota Le Mans test pace
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Stéphane Sarrazin
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Stéphane Sarrazin
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Stéphane Sarrazin
Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota Gazoo Racing
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Stéphane Sarrazin

Just under a year on from its heartbreaking 2016 defeat, Toyota dominated the test, locking out the top three positions with its trio of TS050 Hybrids and relegating Porsche to fourth and fifth places.

Kamui Kobayashi set the best time of the day, a 3m18.132s, in the afternoon session aboard the #7 Toyota, going a full 1.6 seconds quicker than the pole time of Porsche driver Neel Jani from last year.

The sister #8 Toyota’s best time was a 3m19.290s set by Sebastien Buemi, a little over two seconds faster than Jose Maria Lopez’s best effort in the #9 car, while Earl Bamber set the pace for Porsche on a 3m21.512s.

While Seidl said Porsche chose not to attempt a full-blown qualifying simulation, he admitted the time set by Kobayashi and Toyota was “impressive”.

“We’ve had a mixed test day,” said Seidl. “We were focussing on race set-up and refrained from simulating qualifying.

“Although we didn’t achieve the mileage we wanted, we still learnt important lessons for the race regarding tyre choice and tyre wear.

“Toyota’s speed was impressive, we could not match that. In the coming days we will analyse today’s data and draw our conclusions to improve our cars’ performance.”

Kobayashi says more pace to come

Kobayashi’s time put him within 1.3 seconds of Jani’s lap record of the Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday, the Swiss driver’s pole-winning time of 2015 being a 3m16.887s.

But the Japanese driver declared his laptime to be “not brilliant” and reckoned he could have gone at least half a second quicker without traffic and with the full benefit of track evolution.

 “The laptime was not really brilliant,” said Kobayashi. “Actually I had a lot of traffic, so we were missing half a second of laptime, which I think is very positive for us.

“It’s a really exciting feeling when the lap wasn’t really the best, but we still achieved a good laptime.

“It was only at the start of the session, I think the third or fifth lap, so the track evolution would have helped more and we’ll see more laptime coming in the next two weeks.”

Additional reporting by Basile Davoine

shares
comments
Le Mans test day: Toyota beats 2016 pole time in afternoon
Previous article

Le Mans test day: Toyota beats 2016 pole time in afternoon

Next article

Le Mans safety changes dilute challenge, warn drivers

Le Mans safety changes dilute challenge, warn drivers
Load comments
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021