Toyota Gazoo Racing claimed a 1-2 victory on home soil at today’s 6 Hours of Fuji – round 2 of FIA WEC Season 8 – which saw mixed conditions throughout the race.
The No. 8 Toyota TS050 HYBRID driven by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley started today’s race on pole position. It is the fourth win at Fuji for home driver Nakajima and marks the seventh WEC victory for Toyota at the Fuji Speedway since the championship’s inception back in 2012.
It was a near-perfect drive for the No. 8 car today as they took a lights-to-flag victory, with the only incident during the six-hour race being a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. The sister No. 7 car driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José Maria Lopez finished 33.955s adrift of the winning Toyota.
Rebellion Racing took the third podium spot in LMP1 after a relatively trouble-free race with its trio of drivers Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato. The race’s opening 30 minutes saw the No. 1 Rebellion R13 car spearheading the two Toyotas before the No. 7 car edged in front and steadily built up an advantage for the remainder of the race.
Team LNT had a difficult race with its Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AERs due to technical teething troubles including a six-minute stop and go penalty for the No. 6 car in the final hour due to a technical infringement.
Debut LMP2 victory for Racing Team Nederland
The fiercely-competitive LMP2 category saw various different leaders over the course of today’s 6 hour race but it was Racing Team Nederland who crossed the finish line first with recently-crowned FIA F2 Champion Nyck De Vries at the wheel of the No.29 ORECA 07 – Gibson car.
The Dutch team’s trio of De Vries, Frits Van Eerd and Giedo Van Der Garde celebrated a first win for Racing Team Nederland in the WEC, which sees the team catapulted to the top of the LMP2 standings.
British team JOTA, fronted by Anthony Davidson, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Roberto Gonzalez put up a strong fight in the No.38 but a slower stop in the pits in the final hour meant that the team finished 25.808s behind their Dutch rivals. After a solid performance, Jackie Chan DC Racing took the third podium spot in the No. 37 ORECA driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Will Stevens.
United Autosports ended today’s race fourth, the Anglo-American team suffering from a small off due to changing conditions on the track. Fifth overall in LMP2 was the No.33 High Class Racing entry driven by Kenta Yamashita, Mark Patterson and Anders Fjordbach. Kentashita’s knowledge of the Fuji Speedway circuit helped put the team were in winning contention but unfortunately a spin mid-race followed by a lengthy stop in the pits meant the team eventually finished fifth.
Cool Racing secured sixth place, one spot ahead of Signatech Alpine Elf who made contact at T1 at the start of the second hour, dropping them down the field. Cetilar Racing finished eighth, the Italian team suffering from technical issues with their Dallara P217.
*Following post-race Scrutineering, the No. 38 JOTA car was disqualified because the outside neutral switch was unable to disconnect the transmission. This means that Jackie Chan DC Racing have now been elevated to second in LMP2, with United Autosports third.
Next up in the FIA WEC calendar is the 4 Hours of Shanghai, China, Round 3 on 8-10 November.