WEC: Toyotas 1-2 in 6 Hours of Monza practice

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing completed the first practice session for the inaugural 6 Hours of Monza, as it began its quest for a third consecutive Hypercar victory to extend the new GR010 HYBRID’s 100% winning record.

The team leads the World Championship following those wins at Spa-Francorchamps and Portimao and it will again take on Hypercar competitors from Alpine and Glickenhaus in the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) on Sunday.

The #7 crew of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López finished third at Spa then second at Portimao, and are aiming to go one better in Italy. Their push for a first win of the season began well, and they set the fastest time of the session with lap of 1min 38.401secs.

Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, winners of the opening two races in their #8 GR010 HYBRID, were 0.134secs behind in second place. All five Hypercar competitors finished the session within just 0.684secs, promising an exciting battle ahead.

#8 Toyota

Although one of the world’s oldest racetracks, Monza is a relatively new venue for WEC, with the only previous visit coming in a two-day Prologue test in 2017. After first practice, it is now unique as the only circuit at which TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has contested competitive sessions in both the WEC and the World Rally Championship.

As WEC moves to the high-speed part of the season, the opening practice session was an important chance to learn how it behaves on a circuit with similar characteristics to Le Mans. A 15-minute red flag, due to an incident for a GT car, threatened to disrupt this crucial program, but the session was extended accordingly.

Top-2 Quotes

Mike Conway (GR010 HYBRID #7): “It is only first practice so we are are still trying to understand the best set-up direction for our car around this track. It all seems very close at the top, so it feels as if we are going in the right direction. It’s a different circuit compared to Spa or Portimao, which means we’ve got quite a bit of work to do to get the car in the right set-up window, but this was a good start to the weekend.”

Kamui Kobayashi (GR010 HYBRID #7): “I am very happy to be driving in Italy again. It feels a bit like home because when I started racing in Europe I lived in Italy. I know the place well and I enjoy racing here. I haven’t raced at Monza since 2014, so it definitely feels good to be back. First practice went fine and we have some areas to work on to improve the car for the rest of the weekend.”

José María López (GR010 HYBRID #7): “It feels very nice to be back at Monza, where I started my car racing career and always feel such passion for motorsport. It was pretty much a smooth day for us. We still have to work hard to optimize the GR010 HYBRID but it’s good to start with the two cars at the top of the times. We will keep working and see what we can do tomorrow to get more from the car.”

Sébastien Buemi (GR010 HYBRID #8): “The GR010 HYBRID is still a new car for us, even if we’ve done a couple of races by now, so there is plenty to learn. For me, it’s my first time to drive an endurance prototype at Monza because I missed the Prologue in 2017. I enjoyed being out there. We had a bit of rain which wasn’t so nice but it was a decent start to the weekend; now we have work to do to fine-tune everything.”

Kazuki Nakajima (GR010 HYBRID #8): “I am happy to be back at Monza and I enjoyed getting my first taste of the GR010 HYBRID here. My stint was not so easy because there were a few drops of rain and I had quite some traffic to manage but the session went fine in general. I am looking forward to doing more laps tomorrow so we can make progress on our race preparation, which is the main focus.”

Brendon Hartley (GR010 HYBRID #8): “It was a pretty clean session and it’s very close with all the Hypercar competitors which was nice to see. It was a positive session. Both cars tested different items and we had no major issues. We’re still trying to improve the car every time we drive it and we’re making improvements, and did a few tests on different settings and I think we’re getting closer so I feel quite good.”

Practice Results

Pos No. Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 7 Mike Conway
Kamui Kobayashi
Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 – Hybrid HYPERCAR 1’38.401 0.000
2 8 Sébastien Buemi
Kazuki Nakajima
Brendon Hartley
Toyota GR010 – Hybrid HYPERCAR 1’38.535 0.134
3 36 Andre Negrao
Nicolas Lapierre
Matthieu Vaxiviere
Alpine A480 HYPERCAR 1’38.553 0.152
4 709 Romain Dumas
Franck Mailleux
Richard Westbrook
Glickenhaus 007 LMH HYPERCAR 1’39.042 0.641
5 708 Pipo Derani
Gustavo Menezes
Olivier Pla
Glickenhaus 007 LMH HYPERCAR 1’39.085 0.684
6 22 Philip Hanson
Fabio Scherer
Filipe Albuquerque
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’39.373 0.972
7 29 Frits van Eerd
Paul-Loup Chatin
Nyck de Vries
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’39.837 1.436
8 21 Henrik Hedman
Juan Pablo Montoya
Ben Hanley
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’40.075 1.674
9 31 Robin Frijns
Ferdinand Habsburg
Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’40.101 1.700
10 28 Sean Gelael
Stoffel Vandoorne
Tom Blomqvist
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’40.148 1.747
11 70 Esteban Garcia
Loic Duval
Norman Nato
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’40.277 1.876
12 38 Roberto Gonzalez
Antonio Felix da Costa
Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’40.400 1.999
13 34 Jakub Smiechowski
Renger van der Zande
Alex Brundle
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’40.669 2.268
14 1 Tatiana Calderon
Sophia Flörsch
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’40.911 2.510
15 82 Ryan Cullen
Oliver Jarvis
Felipe Nasr
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’40.996 2.595
16 20 Jan Magnussen
Anders Fjordbach
Dennis Andersen
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’41.093 2.692
17 44 Miro Konopka
Oliver Webb
Matej Konopka
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 1’43.191 4.790
18 52 Daniel Serra
Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1’46.329 7.928
19 51 Alessandro Pier Guidi
James Calado
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1’46.700 8.299
20 92 Kevin Estre
Neel Jani
Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE PRO 1’46.895 8.494
21 91 Gianmaria Bruni
Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE PRO 1’46.983 8.582
22 56 Egidio Perfetti
Matteo Cairoli
Riccardo Pera
Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 1’47.194 8.793
23 54 Thomas Flohr
Francesco Castellacci
Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1’47.388 8.987
24 60 Claudio Schiavoni
Andrea Piccini
Matteo Cressoni
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1’47.479 9.078
25 777 Satoshi Hoshino
Tomonobu Fujii
Andrew Watson
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 1’47.599 9.198
26 83 François Perrodo
Nicklas Nielsen
Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1’47.640 9.239
27 71 Brendan Iribe
Ollie Millroy
Ben Barnicoat
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1’47.700 9.299
28 33 Ben Keating
Dylan Pereira
Felipe Fraga
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 1’47.754 9.353
29 88 Andrew Haryanto
Marco Seefried
Alessio Picariello
Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 1’47.962 9.561
30 77 Christian Ried
Jaxon Evans
Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 1’47.985 9.584
31 85 Rahel Frey
Michelle Gatting
Sarah Bovy
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1’48.048 9.647
32 98 Paul Dalla Lana
Augusto Farfus
Marcos Gomes
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 1’48.238 9.837
33 47 Roberto Lacorte
Giorgio Sernagiotto
Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1’48.310 9.909
34 388 Pierre Ehret
Christian Hook
Jeroen Bleekemolen
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1’48.665 10.264
35 86 Michael Wainwright
Benjamin Barker
Tom Gamble
Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 1’48.700 10.299
36 61 Christoph Ulrich
Simon Mann
Toni Vilander
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1’48.834 10.433
37 46 Dennis Olsen
Anders Buchardt
Maxwell Root
Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 1’49.682 11.281