MB Partners driver Mike Conway experienced a difficult Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas with team Toyota Gazoo Racing, retiring from the race following an accident midway through.
While the race finished in full darkness, six hours earlier it began in blazing sunshine with 33Â°C air temperatures, promising tough conditions for the drivers inside the closed-cockpit cars. Mike, in the #2 TS040 HYBRID alongside Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, started from the third row of the grid in sixth.
Around the one-third-distance mark, following a 12-minute full course yellow for an LMP2 accident, Mike found himself squeezed by two GT cars whilst fighting his way through traffic. He spun to avoid contact but rejoined still in fifth.
Unfortunately, the car did not escape unscathed at the half-distance mark when Mike lost control lapping slower traffic and hit the wall at turn 11. The car sustained damage at the front and rear, retiring from the race on the spot.
Toyota’s #1 TS040 HYBRID, driven by Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima finished fourth in crossed the line to take the chequered flag in fourth, two laps behind the winning Porsche #17. The result leaves reigning World Champions Toyota third in the manufacturers’ standings with three races remaining, 119 points behind leaders Porsche.
Mike Conway commented on the race: "The car felt good and we were having a decent race. But then I was coming past one of the GT cars and all of a sudden the car stepped out at the rear, then it went the other way. It was a big tank-slapper which really caught me out. It was my mistake and I’m just so sorry for the team."
Toshio Sato, Team President, added: "This was another hot and difficult race, not only for us, but it ended with a reasonable result for the #1 car. It is disappointing to retire for the first time since Le Mans 2014, and for the first time since I joined the team, but unfortunately such things can happen in motorsport. Congratulations to Porsche who again showed very impressive performance and deserved their victory. Now we have to look forward to our home race at Fuji Speedway, which is of course a big highlight in our season. We go to Japan determined to prepare well and perform strongly at Fuji."
WEC heads to Asia for its next two races, starting on TOYOTA’s home ground in Japan for the Six Hours of Fuji on 11 October prior to a trip to Shanghai in China on 1 November. Bahrain hosts the season finale on 21 November.