Toyota convinced it won't dominate in Shanghai

Toyota is adamant that it will finally face a true challenge from the LMP1 privateers at next month's Shanghai round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Toyota convinced it won't dominate in Shanghai

The Japanese manufacturer believes that the new system of success handicaps will make it difficult for its TS050 Hybrid to maintain a run of WEC victories dating back to 2017's Fuji race, discounting its double disqualification at Silverstone last August.

The Toyotas will be further slowed in comparison to their privateer rivals, Rebellion Racing and the Team LNT Ginetta squad, at the Chinese event on November 10 after both its cars finished two laps clear of the field in last Sunday's Fuji round.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon told Motorsport.com: "Shanghai will be very difficult for us because we will get another step of success handicaps.

"In Shanghai, Rebellion should be strong challengers for pole and in the race as well."

Sebastien Buemi, who took victory at Toyota's home track last weekend with Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, echoed Vasselon's view. 

"Sooner or later Rebellion and maybe Ginetta will be quicker than us," he said. 

"We will go to Shanghai another step slower with the penalties, and at some point, if they don't make any mistakes, they are going to beat us. I think that could be in Shanghai."

Read Also:

Vasselon explained after the Fuji race that the reduction in the fuel allowed to the TS050 and hybrid energy that it can deploy is now making it hard for the Toyota drivers to overtake LMP2 machinery on the straights.  

"We are at a level with the powertrain that is close to critical," he said. "Today we managed to pass the LMP2s, but [only] just."

The two Toyotas will be equally penalised in Shanghai after each notching up a win, a second place and a pole position in the two WEC rounds so far this season. 

Penalties for each LMP1 are based on the gap in championship points to the lowest-placed car in the standings. Cars are penalised by a given amount of time per point, up to a maximum of 40, multiplied by the length of the track in kilometres. 

The penalties for Shanghai have yet to be published, but the Toyotas should be penalised by 2.5s per lap, while the #1 Rebellion R-13, which finished third at Fuji in the hands of Bruno Senna, Norman Nato and Gustavo Menezes, should be slowed by one second.

The exact amounts will depend on the co-efficient used to make the calculations. 

This was initially announced as 0.008s per point, but was increased to 0.012s after the gap between Toyota and the privateers proved bigger than expected at the Silverstone season opener in September.

Toyota's prediction that Rebellion would be in a position to fight with its cars at Fuji proved to be incorrect.

Vasselon expressed surprise at Rebellion's lack of pace, but the team explained that it was hamstrung by the warmer than usual temperatures at Fuji over the weekend. 

The two tyre choices Michelin brought to Japan were a soft compound and Rebellion reckoned it would have been more competitive had the medium compound been available.

This was borne out by the pace of the solo R-13 in the final stages of the race as the temperatures dropped when Menezes matched the Toyotas.

#1 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-13 - Gibson: Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes,  Norman Nato

#1 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-13 - Gibson: Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato

Photo by: JEP / LAT Images

shares
comments
De Vries reflects on "surreal" WEC victory in Fuji
Previous article

De Vries reflects on "surreal" WEC victory in Fuji

Next article

Aston Martin "needed" to prove itself in dry

Aston Martin "needed" to prove itself in dry
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Prime

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its FIA World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans Prime

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future Prime

How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Prime

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Motorsport.com hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory Prime

The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory

Peugeot went radical with the initial plan for its Le Mans Hypercar project, and then stuck to its guns. Here’s how things are shaping up a few weeks before the debut of the 9X8 in next month's Monza World Endurance Championship round

WEC
Jun 1, 2022
How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa Prime

How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa

After a chastening opening to the season at Sebring that ended in an enormous accident, Toyota's #7 crew got their World Endurance Championship underway with victory at a treacherously slippery Spa to make up for its sister car's Sebring defeat to Alpine, as Glickenhaus's promising qualifying turned to disaster in the race

WEC
May 9, 2022