TOYOTA GAZOO Racing heads to Monza leading both the driver and team 2021 FIA World Endurance Championships following an exciting start to the season. Last year’s Le Mans winners Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, in the #8 GR010 HYBRID, lead the drivers’ standing following consecutive wins.
“It is so cool to be racing at the temple of speed in our new GR010 HYBRID,” commented Hartley. “Monza has a great history in endurance racing and it’s great that it’s back on the WEC calendar.
“It will be the first time that we see the new Hypercars on long straights with similar top speeds to Le Mans so, with similar aerodynamic requirements, it will be the perfect preparation. It’s not only preparation; it’s also important we keep building points for the World Championship so we target win number three.”
World Champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López have scored podiums in both races so far in their #7 car.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing aims to maintain its 100% winning Hypercar record this week when the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) returns to Italy for the first time in nearly 30 years for the 6 Hours of Monza.
The new GR010 HYBRID Hypercar has won both races so far this season, in Spa-Francorchamps and Portimao, and will now take on the high-speed challenge of Monza, a track which holds a special place in Toyota’s endurance racing history.
In 1992, Geoff Lees and Hitoshi Ogawa earned Toyota’s first World Championship sportscar victory, beating opposition from Peugeot and adding the TS010 Group C car to a roll of honour which includes previous Monza-winners such as the Jaguar XJR-14, Mercedes Benz C11 and Porsche 962.
That proved to be the last World Championship sportscar race in Italy, although WEC visited in 2017 for its pre-season Prologue test. The historic 5.793km track, in Europe’s largest walled park, returns to the calendar this year.
While the action on track has been dramatic, one important element has been missing; due to the global circumstances, fans have not been permitted to attend WEC races since February last year. But that will change in Monza, when a limited number of spectators will make a welcome return.
The high-speed Monza track is ideal preparation for the Le Mans 24 Hours, with long straights followed by chicanes which will replicate some of the technical challenges posed by the Circuit de la Sarthe when this year’s delayed race takes placed on 21-22 August.
Action begins in Italy with first practice in the afternoon of Friday 16 July, before a packed Saturday sees two further practice sessions and qualifying to determine the 37-car grid for Sunday’s race, which begins at midday CEST (22:00 NZ time).