Motorsports

Published on May 3rd, 2021 | by Subhash Nair

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Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar Wins At Debut Race

Toyota’s GR010 Hybrid is off to a good start with a win at its maiden race.

Toyota’s GR010 Hybrid was deployed on its first ever race over the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps. Despite it being an extremely tough race, the new Hypercar entry from Toyota finished the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps victorious.

The race was packed with incidents and setbacks, which you can read about in the race report below. Car #8 came in first place, with #7 coming in third place. The GR010 will reappear on the 13th of June at Portimao.

RACE REPORT

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing began the Hypercar era in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with a landmark victory in the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps following an exciting start to the 2021 season in Belgium.

Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley earned a place in the record books by winning in the #8 GR010 HYBRID after a dramatic and tense battle at the front, overcoming a close challenge from the #36 Alpine in second and their own team-mates in the #7 car.

In an incident-packed race, the Hypercars foght relentless from the off. World Champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López started from pole position in their #7 GR010 HYBRID and had challenged for victory but finished third following several setbacks.

Today’s result marks TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s fifth consecutive win in Belgium as it begins its challenge for a hat-trick of World Championships.

When the green flags waved to begin WEC’s new era, Mike led the 31-car field, with Sébastien closely behind over the opening laps. The #8 took the lead on lap 11 and the pair of GR010 HYBRIDs were hotly pursued by the #36 Alpine.

As the first pit stops approached, the race took its first dramatic turn. Mike brought the #7 into the pits and lost time when the car did not leave cleanly, before Sébastien visited the pits a lap later.

At the end of that stop, the fuel nozzle was removed from the #8 before the 35secs minimum refuelling time had elapsed, breaking a new regulation and resulting in a 30-second penalty, taken at the car’s next pit stop, when Brendon took the wheel.

With the #7 requiring a fluid refill when Mike handed over to José, the #36 Alpine took over at the front. At half distance, José was closing in and just a few seconds behind, with Brendon further back in the third-placed #8.

The exciting Hypercar battle showed no sign of easing off, and neither did the drama. Jose made contact with a GT car, slightly damaging the front bodywork. Then with just under two hours remaining, the #7 slid off track and became stuck in the gravel, requiring a rescue vehicle to recover it before he resumed in third.

That left Kazuki in the #8 hunting down the #36 Alpine for the lead, while Kamui suffered a further setback when the #7 was given a drive-through penalty for the earlier contact with a GT car.

Following the final Hypercar fuel stops, Sébastien in the leading #8 had a modest cushion of around a minute over the Alpine and he brought the car safely to the chequered flag to win by 1min 7.196secs from the #36, with Kamui bringing the #7 home one lap behind.

Battle will resume for Hypercar honours in Portugal next month, when the inaugural 8 Hours of Portimao takes place on 13 June.

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Written work on dsf.my. @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.



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