Toyota Scores 1-2 Finish at 6 Hours of Spa
It has been a good start to the 2017 World Endurance Championship (WEC) for Toyota. After taking victory at the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone last month, the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid followed it up with another win at the 6 Hours of Spa, this time with the #7 Toyota nipping closely at its heels to make it a decisive 1-2 finish.
This is the first time Toyota locks out the two top steps on the podium since the 6 Hours of Shanghai in 2014, when the team had gone on to win the World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship. The victory last weekend felt even sweeter, as it came hard-earned and versus a very competitive Porsche team.
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The closest competition to the leading #8 Toyota car at Spa, however, wasn’t Porsche as it had been at Silverstone but rather the sister #7 Toyota car, which had admittedly been quicker throughout the best part of the race but lost a big advantage as a result of a safety car period. In the final stages, the #7 car was steadily catching to the #8 car and looked as though it might manage a last-ditch overtake attempt on the final lap, but traffic from the other WEC classes got in the way. Still, it was an exciting race to the checkered flag.
Toyota also ran a third car, marked #9, in a low-downforce spec that finished far behind the other two. However, it allowed its three drivers to race together for the first time and Toyota to gather valuable experience with the low-downforce spec, ideal for Le Mans, as it looks forward to the all-important 24-hour race—a race arguably more important than the championship that includes it.
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Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.