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Toyota hybrid earns 24 hour victory

LE MANS, France —  The win was not at Le Mans, and it was 15 years ago at the Tokachi 24-Hour Race where a Toyota Supra GT that had been modified to used four-wheel energy regeneration and drive system among which the components included  10 kW in-wheel motors in the front wheels in addition to one 150 kW rear-axle mounted electric motor.

Somewhat like today’s Toyota TS030 Hybrid it also used a quick-charging supercapacitor system to provide energy storage for the vehicle.

However, there is not mention of the level of competition in the race, the number of cars, nor the classes that it was racing against. For a photo of the car go to the link.


Toyota breaks through, but Audi makes its point

LE MANS, France — Audi proved to all that it is ready for the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans taking the top two qualifying times, but the Toyota team sent a message to the teutonic knights of Ingolstadt that they best not be expecting an easy time of it Saturday and Sunday pushing into third place on the qualifying ladder.

As it has done nearly all week the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron took top honors with Marcel Fassler turning in a 3:23.787 time, the fastest of the weekend. The No. 3 R18 Ultra was second fastest with Loic Duvalat the wheel. He was just under .3 of a second slower. The No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron was fourth as Tom Kristensen made a valiant effort to get back into one of the top three on the last stint of the night.

Anthony Davidson, the Brit refugee from the Peugeot laid down the fastest qualifying lap of the weekend for the Toyota 030 Hybrid team. Davidson toured the course about a second slower than Fassler but the message was received by the Audi Team. Davidson also had the fastest time in the S2  segment of the track, proving once again that the Toyotas have a goodly amount of straightaway speed, as noted by Audi driver Allan McNish after Sunday’s pre-race test.

The Toyota team has continued to improve its lot in life at Le Mans and while no one can now the future, one thing for sure is that Toyota Team will not be a pushover.

LM P2 was top qualifying was owned by the Oreca O3 Nissan as Jan Charouz did the honors.He turned a 3:38.181 lap for top time of the evening. The Delta Wing car was a tad over four seconds slower than the leader in the LM P2 class.

In GT PRO the Felbermayr team and its 911 Porsche RSR posted top time for the weekend while the GT AM top time went to the Flying Lizards 911 with Spencer Pumpelly at the wheel. Pumpelly toured the course in a time 3:57.594.

Toyota takes one step forward and two back

LE MANS, France — Andre Lotterer laid down a last minute super lap to take top time in Wednesday evening’s first qualifying session. Lotterer and team languished in fourth or fifth place on the qualifying ladder for much of the evening while Toyota TS030 hybrid driver Alexander Wurz put in a 3:27.191 time on a slowing track that was second fastest for a goodly portion of the evening qualifying session. However, before the end of the session he dropped to third when Romain Dumas turned in a late quick lap in the No 3. R18 Ultra and then to fourth when Lotterer laid down his fast lap.

Lotterer’s lap of 3:25.453 was just a blink of the eye slower than the team’s top time in the afternoon practice session and knocked thet wiley veteran team of Allan McNish, Dindo  Capello, and Tom Kristensen in the No. 2 Audi R18 etron into second place on the qualifying ladder.

McNish held top time for the majority of the session, but when Kristensen jumped into the car for his last stint of the night he went out and upped McNish’s top time with a snazzy 3:25.536 lap with about 20 minutes left in the session. He was about two-tenths of a second faster than McNish. It looked like the No.2 Audi had locked up the top time of the session until Lotterer made his mad midnight dash.

Third over all was the No. 3 Audi R18 Ultra while the No. 7 Toyota was fourth, the No. 4. Audi was fifth and the No. 8 Toyota was sixth on the ladder.

P2 top time was captured by the Oreca 03-Nissan with Pierre Thiriet doing the honors. LMGTEPro found Tommy Milner in the Corvette C6 ZR1 topping the field while in GTAM the Flying Lizards Porsche 911 RSR  found the top run on the qualifying ladder with Spencer Pumpelly pushing on the fast pedal.

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