Kurt Verlin
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2020 Lone Star Le Mans: Double Podium for Toyota Gazoo Racing

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No 7 and 8 Toyotas at 2020 Lone Star Le Mans in Austin
Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota Gazoo Racing was celebrating in Austin last weekend after scoring a double podium finish in the six-hour, 2020 Lone Star Le Mans endurance race.

Sébastian Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Kazuki Nakajima finished second in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, just over 51 seconds behind the winning No. 1 Rebellion car. Behind them were rivals Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and José María López in the No. 7 Toyota.

This was a very strong result for Toyota Gazoo Racing considering that both of its cars were under the effects of the series’ “success handicap,” a system that uses a variety of mechanical factors like minimum weight and fuel flow to restrict car performance based on its previous performances that season.

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The No. 7 Toyota, having won two of the previous four WEC rounds, was the most handicapped car on the grid, followed by the No. 8 Toyota, which has won a single round and finished 2nd at all the others. As a result, finishing in the order that they did, behind the less successful and therefore less handicapped No. 1 Rebellion car, was just about the best result the team could have expected at the 2020 Lone Star Le Mans.

The handicap system essentially exists to prevent high-budget teams like Toyota from easily running away with the title, and while it might seem unfair from a competitive standpoint, it does make the series more exciting for spectators hoping to see more on-track action.

Still, five rounds in and with three more to go, Toyota nonetheless sits pretty at the top of the standings. The drivers of the No. 7 car are currently leading the drivers’ championship with 112 points, ahead of the drivers of the No. 8 car, who have 107 points. Rebellion drivers are third with 93 points, and in the manufacturers’ championship, Toyota leads Rebellion 126 points to 93.

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