Difficult COTA run sees TOYOTA GAZOO Racing claim fourth

2015 World Endurance Championship - Round 5

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing experienced a difficult Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas but ended the day with the team’s best result since the opening round of the 2015 World Endurance Championship (WEC).

The #1 TS040 HYBRID of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima finished the day in fourth position overall. “It was tough but fourth was a bonus,” said Anthony. “The car was difficult to drive this week and conditions were tough. We will keep motivated, particularly for our home race in Fuji.”

Unfortunately, the #2 TS040 HYBRID of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway was forced to retire following an accident. “A DNF can happen sometimes,” said Stéphane. “It’s part of the game. We were having a positive race and the car felt good. We did our best but it was hard.

The Six Hours of COTA covered day and night, starting below the sweltering 33°c Texan sun and ending in total darkness. This made for tough conditions for all drivers. The pit crews minimised pit time during the frequent driver and tyre changes, working without error despite their thick fireproof overalls.

Sébastien and Alex started out the race in fifth and sixth respectively, with Sébastien briefly taking fourth. Then the race settled into its rhythm, with the #1 holding fifth and #2 car directly behind.

It was another difficult weekend but we expected that,” said Sébastien. “We were trying to learn as much as we could – about the track, the tyres, the car. We want to make sure that next year we can be fighting at the front.


At around one-third distance, both cars encountered issues. Anthony missed a pit-entry and dropped to sixth while lapping slowly to maintain fuel. In the #2 car, Mike first spun out after getting caught between two GT cars, then lost control again at half-distance. The car sustained irreparable damage and was forced to retire.

We were having a decent race,” said Mike. “But I was coming past one GT car and the car stepped out at the rear, then went the other way. It was a big tank-slapper, which caught me out. It was my mistake and I’m just so sorry for the team.

The #1 car received a penalty for the pit-entry incident then finished the race without issue, gaining a position when the Porsche #18 suffered technical issues. “I pushed to the end but it was difficult,” said Kazuki, who brought the car across the line in fourth, two laps behind the winning Porsche #17. “Fourth place was better than we expected earlier in the race. I hope it can bring momentum for Fuji.

Reigning World Champions TOYOTA now sit third in the manufacturers’ standings, 119 points behind leaders Porsche with three races still to go.

This was another hot, difficult race,” commented Team President Toshio Sato, “but ended with a reasonable result for the #1 car. It’s disappointing to retire for the first time since Le Mans 2014, and for the first time since I joined. Congratulations to Porsche, who showed impressive performance and deserved their victory. Now we look to our home race at Fuji Speedway, a highlight in our season. We are determined to prepare well and perform strongly.


WEC now heads to Asia, first visiting TOYOTA’s home-ground in the Six Hours of Fuji on 11 October, then China for the Six Hours of Shanghai on 1 November. The season will end with the Six Hours of Bahrain on 21 November.

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