Kobayashi puts Toyota on pole

WEC: Toyota defeats Ferrari at Monza

Toyota Gazoo Racing have got their 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship title fight back on track after the Japanese manufacturer won today’s 6 Hours of Monza, round five of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Start – FIA WEC 6h of Monza – Autodromo Nazionale Monza – Monza – Italy –

With 65,000 fans in attendance over three days in sweltering hot conditions, today’s race saw action from start to finish including three different manufacturers on the overall Hypercar podium – Toyota, Ferrari and Peugeot.

Start –FIA WEC 6h of Monza – Autodromo Nazionale Monza – Monza – Italy –

Monza race winners Mike Conway, Jose-Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi crossed the finish line in the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid 16.250s ahead of the No. 50 AF Corse Ferrari 499P Hypercar driven by Antonio Fuoco, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina.

2nd place #51 Ferrari 499P

A determined comeback drive from Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa in the #8 GR010 HYBRID saw the World Champions recover from the back of the field. They crossed the line fourth but were handed a post-race penalty and dropped to sixth.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s fourth win of the season is the perfect response to a frustrating Le Mans 24 Hours and extends the team’s World Championship lead to 26 points. Victory brings the #7 crew back into the drivers’ title race and they now lie second, 23 points behind their #8 colleagues.

On another warm summer day, the action on track was equally hot from the opening lap when Conway led the 36-car field into the tight first chicane from pole position. He jostled for the lead, but Sébastien, starting third, made contact with the #51 Ferrari and dropped to eighth.

After 15 minutes, Conway led from the #50 Ferrari and #93 Peugeot, when an incident between the #8 and a GT car brought out the safety car again. The #8 was not damaged but its chances were hit when stewards imposed a 10secs penalty for the first incident and a further 60secs for the second.

The safety car brought the chasing pack right on Conway’s tail and when racing resumed he dropped to third. Sébastien took his 60 secs penalty and resumed in 34th place, losing a lap to the leader soon after.

Conway put pressure on the leaders as the first pit stops approached at the one-hour mark, but lost valuable seconds when maneuvering around a car pitting in the adjacent garage. At his stop, Sébastien served his other penalty and began the #8 car’s fightback.

Third-placed Conway was the quickest car on track in his second stint on the hard tires and moved into the lead during the next pit stops. José continued the battle, fighting past the #5 Porsche to effectively lead the race shortly before an LMP2 incident caused a safety car early in the third hour.

When off-strategy rivals pitted behind the safety car, José hit the front and began building an advantage over the #50 Ferrari, twice setting new fastest laps in the process. Meanwhile the #8, now with Ryo at the wheel, fought its way up to seventh.

Smart strategy and a string of quick laps from Ryo helped the #8 return to the lead lap by the time Brendon took over to push for a top-six finish. At the front, José’s efforts during the fourth hour paid off and he handed over the #7 to Kamui with a substantial advantage over the two Ferraris.

However, a safety car eliminated that 45 secs gap and set up an exciting last 90 minutes with Kamui defending a slender lead from the #50 Ferrari. The #8 car’s misfortune continued when they had to make an emergency fuel stop under the safety car, and then a full pit stop when racing resumed, dropping Brendon to eighth.

Kamui set about rebuilding his advantage and led by around 10 secs when he made his final pit stop with 45 minutes to go, after minimizing the time lost on old tires compared to the Ferrari on new tires. An exceptional pit stop by the mechanics helped Kamui return to the track ahead of his rival.

With fresh rubber, Kamui set the fastest lap and pulled clear to win by 16.520secs from the #50 Ferrari. The #8 crew’s never-give-up approach paid dividends as Brendon battled into fourth place in a frantic final 15 minutes by overtaking their World Championship rivals in the #51 Ferrari, and the #5 Porsche. Post-race, the #8 was handed a 50secs penalty for briefly and unintentionally exceeding a powertrain power limit on one lap.


In LMP2, complex and exhilarating LMP2 battle went the way of JOTA after a tight battle with the No.31 Team WRT entry in the last 90-minutes of the race. David Heinemeier Hansson, Pietro Fittipaldi and Oliver Rasmussen took their first victory of the season after a complex race of strategy saw the trio lead the 12-car field home.


Meanwhile, Dempsey-Proton Racing trio Christian Ried, Julien Andlauer and Mikkel Pedersen took a stealthy victory while Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone and Nicky Catsburg sealed the title with two rounds remaining.

The No.77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR-19 made its way through the field in strong fashion making one fewer pitstop than the No.60 Iron Lynx Porsche of Matteo Cressoni, Alessio Picariello and Claudio Schiavoni who trailed the winners by just 11.184 seconds.

It’s been a dream season for Corvette Racing with three victories – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1000 Miles of Sebring and Six Hours Portimão – in addition to a runner-up finish at the Six Hours of Spa.

“Congratulations to Ben Keating, Nicky Catsburg and Nico Varrone on their championship in the first year for Corvette Racing in the World Endurance Championship’s GTE Am class,” said Mark Stielow, Director, Chevrolet Motorsports Competition Engineering.

“This was not an easy accomplishment despite the results this season. The strategy and execution by the entire Corvette Racing team – the drivers, the crew and the engineers – has been excellent throughout the season. This was a deep and competitive class and we are grateful that Corvette Racing has come out on top. It gives us great momentum going into the end of the season and 2024 when the Corvette Z06 GT3.R customer program arrives in WEC.”

Next in the 2023 FIA WEC calendar is the 6 Hours of Fuji as the World Championship prepares for its first trip to Asia this year for the Japanese classic which takes place at the iconic Fuji Speedway (8-10 September).

Hypercar Podium – FIA WEC 6h of Monza – Autodromo Nazionale Monza – Monza – Italy

Winning Hypercar Driver Quotes

Kamui Kobayashi (Team Principal and driver, car #7): “I am very happy with that result. It was a really close battle, and we had to push hard because the competition was very strong. The key was making no mistakes throughout the race and managing the tires. I had a long stint at the end which was hard and quite tense. But it was great to fight with Ferrari and, after our result at Le Mans, it is nice to get a bit of revenge over them today. Thanks to the team, as well as our partners and sponsors who really supported us a lot after Le Mans. This was a good team result after car #8 fought back to score good points. They showed why it’s important to never give up. We have two races to go and we will do our best to win both World Championships. I am sure it will be a close fight.”

Mike Conway (Driver, car #7): “It’s nice to beat Ferrari on their home ground so big thanks to the crew and my team-mates. The pit stops were really solid, particularly the last one which was mega and helped us stay in front, and all the calls from the pit wall worked out well too. It feels good to win again and get a decent haul of points for the team. We had to really fight for it. We knew this race would be all about tire management and there were some different strategies going on out there. We executed our plan well and whenever we lost ground, with getting the hard tires up to temperature or a safety car, we managed to claw it back. José drove well to build a gap and Kamui put in a very strong last stint to win it.”

José María López (Driver, car #7): “After a tough Le Mans, it was important to bounce back and everyone did a fantastic job. It was a tough race, but the car felt good. We had a strong pace, perfect pit stops and the right strategy. It feels great to get our third win of the year, especially because this puts us back in the game for the World Championship. I felt very comfortable in the car. I could attack, get into the lead and build up a nice gap. At the same time, you always know that in endurance racing the gap can be reset very quickly and the safety car made it tricky at the end for Kamui. He had a really hard job, but we finished on top, and it feels nice to win at a track like this in front of the tifosi.”

Race Results

Pos No. Drivers Car Class Laps
1 7 Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez Toyota GR010 – Hybrid HYPERCAR 200
2 50 Antonio Fuoco/Miguel Molina/Nicklas Nielsen Ferrari 499P HYPERCAR 200
3 93 Paul di Resta/Mikkel Jensen/Jean-Eric Vergne Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 200
4 8 Sébastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo Hirakawa Toyota GR010 – Hybrid HYPERCAR 199
5 51 Alessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado/Antonio Giovinazzi Ferrari 499P HYPERCAR 199
6 5 Dane Cameron/Michael Christensen/Frédéric Makowiecki Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 199
7 6 Kevin Estre/Andre Lotterer/Laurens Vanthoor Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 199
8 708 Romain Dumas/Olivier Pla/Nathanael Berthon Glickenhaus 007 HYPERCAR 199
9 38 Antonio Felix da Costa/Will Stevens/Ye Yifei Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 198
10 2 Earl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Richard Westbrook Cadillac V-Series.R HYPERCAR 198
11 28 David Heinemeier Hansson/Pietro Fittipaldi/Oliver Rasmussen Oreca 07 LMP2 193
12 36 Matthieu Vaxiviere/Julien Canal/Charles Milesi Oreca 07 LMP2 192
13 41 Rui Andrade/Robert Kubica/Louis Deletraz Oreca 07 LMP2 192
14 23 Josh Pierson/Giedo van der Garde/Oliver Jarvis Oreca 07 LMP2 192
15 34 Jakub Smiechowski/Fabio Scherer/Albert Costa Oreca 07 LMP2 192
16 22 Frederick Lubin/Philip Hanson/Ben Hanley Oreca 07 LMP2 192
17 63 Doriane Pin/Mathias Beche/Daniil Kvyat Oreca 07 LMP2 192
18 35 Andre Negrao/Memo Rojas/Olli Caldwell Oreca 07 LMP2 192
19 94 Loic Duval/Gustavo Menezes/Nico Müller Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 191
20 4 Esteban Guerrieri/Tristan Vautier/JP De Vanwall Vandervell 680 HYPERCAR 191
21 9 Filip Ugran/Bent Viscaal/Andrea Caldarelli Oreca 07 LMP2 191
22 77 Christian Ried/Mikkel Pedersen/Julien Andlauer Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 185
23 60 Claudio Schiavoni/Matteo Cressoni/Alessio Picariello Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 185
24 86 Michael Wainwright/Riccardo Pera/Benjamin Barker Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 184
25 33 Ben Keating/Nicolas Varrone/Nick Catsburg Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE AM 184
26 85 Sarah Bovy/Michelle Gatting/Rahel Frey Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 184
27 83 Luis Perez Companc/Lilou Wadoux/Alessio Rovera Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 183
28 56 Guilherme Oliveira/Efrin Castro/Matteo Cairoli Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 183
29 25 Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Dinan/Charles Eastwood Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 183
30 21 Julien Piguet/Simon Mann/Ulysse De Pauw Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 182
31 54 Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Davide Rigon Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 180
32 31 Sean Gelael/Ferdinand Habsburg/Robin Frijns Oreca 07 LMP2 179
33 99 Gianmaria Bruni/Harry Tincknell/Neel Jani Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 134
34 57 Takeshi Kimura/Scott Huffaker/Kei Cozzolino Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 70
35 10 Ryan Cullen/Matthias Kaiser/Gabriel Aubry Oreca 07 LMP2 66
36 777 Satoshi Hoshino/Casper Stevenson/Tomonobu Fujii Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 7
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