TOYOTA GAZOO Racing earned a historic first-ever Hypercar pole position as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) began its new era with the new GR010 HYBRID locking out the front row in qualifying for the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
The #7 Hypercar of World Champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López will lead the field away for the first race of the season, in Belgium, after a very impressive lap of 2mins 0.747secs from Kamui. Kazuki completed a perfect session for the team by taking second place, 0.519secs behind, in the #8 car he shares with Sébastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley.
In the first qualifying session under WEC’s new format, which sees one driver per car take part, Kamui also earned a bonus World Championship point for the team and the #7 GR010 HYBRID drivers as TOYOTA GAZOO Racing prepares to challenge for a fifth consecutive victory at Spa.
Almost 15 hours of testing and free practice sessions took place earlier in the week and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing worked tirelessly to fine-tune set-ups and control settings on the GR010 HYBRID, despite losing valuable time with technical issues on the #7.
After close lap times in practice, a highly-anticipated qualifying saw Kamui and Kazuki put the revised set-ups to good use with clean laps at the very start of the session on new Michelin tyres and low fuel, setting lap times which none of their Hypercar or LMP2 rivals could match.
The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the first of six in a revised 2021 WEC calendar, begins at 1.30PM CEST on Saturday.
1/ #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 2min 0.747secs
2/ #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.519secs
3/ #22 United Autosports (Hanson/Scherer/Albuquerque) +1.657secs
4/ #36 Alpine (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxivierre) +1.905secs
5/ #26 G-Drive (Rusinov/Colapinto/De Vries) +2.237secs
6/ #29 Racing Team Nederland (v. Eerd/v.d Garde/v. Uitert) +2.688secs