WEC Prologue: Toyota maintains slim lead over Rebellion

Toyota concluded the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue test at Barcelona fastest, but with only a slender advantage over top LMP1 privateer squad Rebellion.

WEC Prologue: Toyota maintains slim lead over Rebellion

Only 14 of the 30 cars entered took part in the final four-hour session of the two-day test, with many teams opting to call time on their running early - some in order to travel to the Spa 24 Hours ready for the first day of on-track action for the Belgian classic on Thursday.

All six LMP1 cars hit the track and improved on their previous times with Toyota's pair of TS050 Hybrids again locking out the top two positions.

Jose Maria Lopez set the pace in the #7 car with a 1m29.141s in the opening hour, an improvement of almost half a second on his Wednesday morning time, while Kazuki Nakajima set the best time in the #8 Toyota, a 1m29.187s, in the second hour.

The quickest of the two Gibson-powered R-13s, the #1 car, ended up only 0.267s off the pace in the hands of Gustavo Menezes, lowering the Swiss squad's best time of the week by six tenths.

Bruno Senna likewise dipped below the 90-second barrier in the #3 Rebellion, but found himself beaten by the best of the Ginetta G60-LT-P1s in the dying stages.

Both of the Team LNT-run cars made improvements in the closing minutes, Formula 2 racer Luca Ghiotto setting a time only 0.556s off the pace in the #6 machine to leapfrog the second Rebellion for fourth.

Charlie Robertson's effort in the sixth-placed #5 Ginetta was just over a second off the pace.

SMP Racing driver Egor Orudzhev finally got his first running of the week in this session, driving both Ginettas, but suffering an early spin at the chicane early on.

Only five of the eight LMP2 cars took part in the test, the fastest of which was the TDS-run Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07 thanks to a late effort of 1m31.659s by Nyck de Vries.

Read Also:

RTN has confirmed it will race Michelin tyres this season after spending time testing both the French rubber and rival brand Goodyear this week.

Paul di Resta put the United Autosports Oreca second-fastest ahead of the Signatech Alpine Oreca of Andre Negrao, giving Michelin a top-three lockout.

Both Jota Sport-run Orecas and the Cool Racing Oreca sat out the final session, as did the entire contingent of five GTE Pro cars.

Just three of the 11 GTE Am cars appeared, with Thomas Preining setting the fastest time in class of 1m44.523s early on in the #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

LMP1 test results:

Pos. # Car/Engine Drivers Day 1 Day 2
1 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid

 Mike Conway

Japan Kamui Kobayashi

 Jose Maria Lopez

 Thomas Laurent

1m29.991s 1m29.141s
2 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid

 Sebastien Buemi

Japan Kazuki Nakajima

New Zealand Brendon Hartley

 Thomas Laurent

1m30.114s 1m29.187s
3 1 Rebellion R-13-Gibson

 Felipe Nasr

 Norman Nato

United States Gustavo Menezes

 Bruno Senna

 Nathanel Berthon

1m31.401s 1m29.408s
4 6 Ginetta G60-LT-P1-AER

 Mike Simpson

 Stephane Sarrazin

 Guy Smith

 Luca Ghiotto

 Egor Orudzhev

1m31.831s 1m29.697s
5 3 Rebellion R-13-Gibson

United States Gustavo Menezes

 Bruno Senna

 Nathanael Berthon

1m31.073s 1m29.807s
6 5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1-AER

 Charlie Robertson

 Mathias Beche

Monaco Stephane Richelmi

 Egor Orudzhev

1m31.828s 1m30.239s

Driver in bold set fastest lap

shares
comments
Porsche dismisses 'new car' BoP fears with RSR-19

Previous article

Porsche dismisses 'new car' BoP fears with RSR-19

Next article

Toyota not surprised by reduced WEC LMP1 field

Toyota not surprised by reduced WEC LMP1 field
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak Prime

How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak

The FIA World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 Hybrid remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing.

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Prime

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness.

Le Mans
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear Prime

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021