Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed that it will run both of its 2017 aerodynamic packages at Spa Francorchamps for the second round of the FIA WEC season across its three TS050 LMP1 Hybrids.
For the weekend, the full-season #7 and #8 TS050s will race with the high-downforce package which they both used at Silverstone (the #8 car taking the overall win). The #9 of Stéphane Sarrazin, Yuji Kunimoto and Nicolas Lapierre meanwhile – which is making its debut as the team’s third car in 2017 – will race with the low-downforce aero which Toyota will race with at the Le Mans 24 Hours next month.
“We made a strong start to the season and we hope to continue this at Spa,” said team president Toshi Sato. “The competition against Porsche is intense and we are looking forward to another close fight. Our high-downforce TS050 HYBRID performed very well at Silverstone, but Spa is a different circuit so we have been working hard to get ready.
“This year we have three cars for the first time, which gives us a chance to try out our low-downforce car in race conditions. We have tested it extensively over the winter, so this weekend we are taking another step in our Le Mans preparations.”
Stephane Sarrazin, who will drive the #9 for Spa and Le Mans this year, is also positive about the team’s use of both packages in Belgium.
“I’m really looking forward to racing the TS050 HYBRID again, especially after seeing the performance at Silverstone,” he added. “It was great to watch and I hope the car is strong also in low-downforce spec. As always, I hope to get a good result but the most important thing for our car this weekend is to prepare ourselves properly for Le Mans.
“We need to get a lot of data about the low-downforce car and fine-tune the teamwork in our first race together.”
This isn’t the first time which an LMP1 manufacturer has used two downforce packages at Spa, with Audi running in the Six Hours back as recently as 2015 with two kits on its R18s.
Porsche meanwhile, will use the low-drag aero which it ran at Silverstone this weekend on its pair of 919 Hybrids, team principal Andreas Seidl confirming last month that its high-downforce package will debut after Le Mans.
“After the Le Mans 24 Hours in June,” he said, “we will consequently arm the 919 with more downforce for the remaining championship rounds.”