The #7 crew of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima return to defend their crown after winning a thrilling race in Japan last year. The trio’s last race ended with fourth position at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The sister TS030 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin, the #8, completes a strong Toyota Racing entry at the team’s home circuit. After a race-long battle for victory ended in second place for the #8 in its last race, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Toyota Racing is aiming to challenge for victory in Japan. Fuji Speedway lies just 20 kilometres away from the Higashifuji Technical Centre, where the Toyota Hybrid System - Racing powertrain is developed.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “Last year’s event at Fuji was probably the best six-hour race of the year both in terms of the close battle between us and Audi, and also the large, passionate crowd. Winning the race was a fantastic moment for the team and we travel to Japan absolutely determined to keep that title.”
Alex Wurz (#7): “I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel again; it’s much more fun to be racing the TS030 Hybrid than watching it on TV. Certainly there will be a lot of work for us to do in the first practice sessions to get familiar with the updated post-Le Mans package and to optimise it for Fuji. I’m ready for the challenge and ready to race.”
Nicolas Lapierre (#7): “Fuji last year was one of my best memories so I’m really fired up to get back in the car this weekend. It’s great to be working with Alex and Kazuki again after quite a break since Le Mans. We have a great relationship so I’m sure everything will fall into place very quickly.”
Kazuki Nakajima (#7): “I have some great memories of Fuji last year, especially because it was my first FIA world championship race win. It has been a long time since Le Mans but I have had plenty of racing since then so I am ready for the weekend. It’s always a challenge to fight with Audi but I hope we can have another exciting race.”
Anthony Davidson (#8): “For me the fans are particularly special in Japan and you feel very proud to be driving for a Japanese manufacturer when you see the support they give. We were part of a very close battle in Austin and it was very satisfying to be challenging again.”
Sébastien Buemi (#8): “I have never raced at Fuji but I did drive the medical car there in 2008 for the Japanese Grand Prix. From that experience I could learn a bit about the track; it is very technical and you need experience to get the best out of it. It certainly looks like a fun track to race on so I am looking forward to the weekend.”
Stéphane Sarrazin (#8): “I know Fuji from racing LM P2 there last year and I really enjoy the track; it is nicely balanced between fast and slow corners and it’s quite tricky for the drivers. I’m particularly excited to experience the track at the wheel of the TS030 Hybrid and driving for Toyota Racing.”
Photo: Oyama, Prefecture of SHINOZUKA (JAPAN), FUJI INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (JAPAN), The 6 HOURS OF FUJI, QUALIFYING, October 13, 2012. For his home race, Kazuki Nakajima had taken the pole position and victory at the wheel of the Toyota TS030 Hybrid.
(Based upon Toyota Racing press information)