Toyota survives chaotic start for one-two win at home

WEC Hypercar

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Toyota survived a messy start to the Six Hours of Fuji to chase down Porsche Penske and take a home one-two finish in Japan.

The number seven car of Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway won at Toyota’s home round ahead of team mates Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa and Sebastien Buemi finishing second to complete the one-two.

With the two Toyotas on the front row, there was a major rush to the first corner with Mike Conway leading the field in the number seven car and the sister number eight alongside him. But Laurens Vanthoor in the number six Porsche Penske got a good slipstream on the leader and pulled to the inside of Conway. As they all braked for the first turn, most of the Hypercars ran off the track, including the two Toyotas, with the number six Porsche Penske emerging in the lead ahead of the number 50 Ferrari and Conway in the number seven Toyota.

The number five Porsche Penske suffered a puncture after contact from the number 51 Ferrari at the first corner. Fortunately for its drivers, the Safety Car was deployed on the first lap for a GTE AM car stuck in the gravel at turn one. At the restart, Conway tried to take second from Molina at the chicane but was shoved onto the grass, losing a place to the second Ferrari of James Calado.

Conway eventually passed Calado for third and later overtook Molina for second down the straight for second with an aggressive move into turn one. Ahead, the number six Porsche Penske continued to lead for well over the first half of the race, but when Kevin Estre took over the car, Jose Maria Lopez in the number seven Toyota began to put the pressure on the leader, as Ryo Hirakawa in the number eight Toyota caught up to its sister car.

With just over two hours remaining, the two Toyotas swapped positions with Hirakawa moving into second and then the lead as he dived past at the chicane. Estre then brought the Porsche Penske into the pits to hand over to Andre Lotterer, with both Toyotas resuming ahead of him after their next stops, as Brendon Hartley and Kobayashi took over their respective cars.

Kobayashi in the number seven Toyota caught up to Hartley, who was instructed to allow his team principal through into the lead. Kobayashi extended his lead over the final 90 minutes of the race and comfortably secured the number seven crew’s fourth win of the season. Hartley crossed the line almost 40 seconds behind in second, with the number six Porsche Penske completing the podium, the only car on the lead lap with the Toyotas.

The two Ferraris of number 50 and 51 finished fourth and fifth, respectively, ahead of the Jota Porsche in six. The two Peugeots of number 94 and number 93 finished seventh and eighth, ahead of the Proton Porsche ninth and the sole Cadillac of car number two tenth.

Toyota’s victory secured them the manufacturer’s championship having won every race of the season aside from the biggest prize, the Le Mans 24 Hours, which was claimed by Ferrari. In the other classes, WRT won in LMP2 with car number 41 with Robert Kubica crossing the line first, while AF Corse number 54 took the honours in GTE AM.

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Race result

17Hypercar (H)Toyota Gazoo RacingToyota GR010Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez229
28Hypercar (H)Toyota Gazoo RacingToyota GR010Sebastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo Hirakawa229
36Hypercar (H)Porsche Penske MotorsportPorsche 963Kevin Estre/Andre Lotterer/Laurens Vanthoor229
450Hypercar (H)Ferrari AF CorseFerrari 499PAntonio Fuoco/Miguel Molina/Nicklas Nielsen228
551Hypercar (H)Ferrari AF CorseFerrari 499PAlessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado/Antonio Giovinazzi228
638Hypercar (H)Hertz Team JOTAPorsche 963Antonio Felix Da Costa/Will Stevens/Yifei Ye228
794Hypercar (H)Peugeot TotalenergiesPeugeot 9X8Loic Duval/Gustavo Menezes/Nico Mueller228
893Hypercar (H)Peugeot TotalenergiesPeugeot 9X8Paul di Resta/Mikkel Jensen/Jean-Eric Vergne226
999Hypercar (H)Proton CompetitionPorsche 963Gianmaria Bruni/Harry Tincknell/Neel Jani221
102Hypercar (H)Cadillac RacingCadillac V-Series.REarl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Richard Westbrook219
1141LMP2Team WRTOreca 07 – GibsonRui Andrade/Louis Deletraz/Robert Kubica219
1222LMP2United AutosportsOreca 07 – GibsonPhilip Hanson/Ben Hanley/Frederick Lubin218
1331LMP2Team WRTOreca 07 – GibsonSean Gelael/Ferdinand Habsburg/Robin Frijns218
1423LMP2United AutosportsOreca 07 – GibsonJoshua Pierson/Giedo van der Garde/Oliver Jarvis218
1536LMP2Alpine Elf TeamOreca 07 – GibsonMatthieu Vaxiviere/Charles Milesi/Julienal Canal218
1628LMP2JOTAOreca 07 – GibsonDavid Heinemeier Hansson/Oliver Rasmussen/Pietro Fittipaldi218
1710LMP2Vector SportOreca 07 – GibsonRyan Cullen/Gabriel Aubry/Matthias Kaiser217
189LMP2Prema RacingOreca 07 – GibsonBent Viscaal/Juan Manuel Correa/Andrea Caldarelli217
1934LMP2Inter Europol CompetitionOreca 07 – GibsonJakub Smiechowski/Albert Costa/Fabio Scherer217
2063LMP2Prema RacingOreca 07 – GibsonDoriane Pin/Daniil Kvyat/Mathias Beche216
2135LMP2Alpine Elf TeamOreca 07 – GibsonAndre Negrão/Olli Caldwell/Memo Rojas216
224HypercarFloyd Vanwall Racing TeamVanwall Vandervell 680Esteban Guerrieri/Tristan Vautier/Joao Paulo de OIiveira211
2354LMGTE AmAF CorseFerrari 488 GTE EvoThomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Davide Rigon210
2457LMGTE AmKessel RacingFerrari 488 GTE EvoTakeshi Kimura/Scott Huffaker/Kei Cozzolino210
2533LMGTE AmCorvette RacingChevrolet Corvette C8.RNicky Catsburg/Ben Keating/Nicolas Varrone210
2685LMGTE AmIron DamesPorsche 911 RSR-19Sarah Bovy/Michelle Gatting/Rahel Frey210
2756LMGTE AmProject 1 – AOPorsche 911 RSR-19Efrin Castro/Guilherme Oliveira/Matteo Cairoli210
2877LMGTE AmDempsey-Proton RacingPorsche 911 RSR-19Christian Ried/Mikkel Pedersen/Julien Andlauer210
2998LMGTE AmNorthwest AMRAston Martin Vantage AMRIan James/Daniel Mancinelli/Alex Riberas210
3086LMGTE AmGR RacingPorsche 911 RSR-19Michael Wainwright/Benjamin Barker/Riccardo Pera210
3183LMGTE AmRichard Mille AF CorseFerrari 488 GTE EvoLuis Perez Companc/Alessio Rovera/Lilou Wadoux209
32777LMGTE AmD’Station RacingAston Martin Vantage AMRSatoshi Hoshino/Casper Stevenson/Tomonobu Fujii209
3360LMGTE AmIron LynxPorsche 911 RSR-19Claudio Schiavoni/Matteo Cressoni/Alessio Picariello209
3421LMGTE AmAF CorseFerrari 488 GTE EvoSimon Mann/Julien Piguet/Ulysse de Pauw208
3525LMGTE AmORT by TFAston Martin Vantage AMRAhmad Al Harthy/Michael Dinan/Charlie Eastwood206
365Hypercar (H)Porsche Penske MotorsportPorsche 963Dane Cameron/Michael Christensen/Frederic Makowiecki185

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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One comment on “Toyota survives chaotic start for one-two win at home”

  1. The WEC is in a tough spot. While Le Mans was very close, with all manufacturers leading the race on merit and race execution rather than sheer pace proving decisive, most of the other races have not been. The tinkering with the BoP is not a good look, and the more it happens the more it detracts from the performances of the teams, but it’s also absolutely necessary for the series to be the equal platform it promised to be. They need to do better.

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