TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and Project 1 primed for Le Mans assault

The Le Mans 24 Hours is arguably the most famous of all events in motorsport, although fervent IndyCar and Formula One fans may argue their cases regarding the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix!

Be that as it may, this historic event is certainly the most famous endurance race on the planet, also subject to two of the greatest motorsport movies of all time. You know the ones…

This year, the event will have a vastly different, and somewhat eerie vibe about it. Instead of hundreds of thousands of fans painting the northern France countryside with campsites, flags, food, music and above all, passion, there will be none of that.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the grassy verges will remain undisturbed and the grandstands vacant. But some things may not change, as the dominant TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team, partnered by Acronis, aims for a remarkable hat-trick of titles this year in the TS050 Hybrid.

Racing behind the wheel for this latest, and perhaps historic treble, are last year’s victors Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, partnered by former F1 star Brendon Hartley in the #8 machine.

“Le Mans means a lot to me; it is such a special, unique race,” said Nakajima. “Since the first time I raced there in 2012 my biggest target has been to win the Le Mans 24 Hours and even after winning for the last two years this doesn’t change; we all go there with only one target in mind. Of course it’s an honour to win Le Mans twice, and to become the first Japanese driver to achieve this, but I hope there is more to come. We know how difficult it is to win this race, and all the things that can go wrong, so we will be fully focused on our job.”

And looking to outdo their teammates in the #7 Toyota are the equally strong trio of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.

“For the last few years our #7 car had a chance to win in Le Mans but unfortunately we always missed out, so we really want to win this one,” said Kobayashi. “I believe one day it’s going to happen and I hope it is this year, particularly because it is the final Le Mans for the TS050 HYBRID. It is a pity that there will be no spectators at the track to say goodbye to this amazing car but I hope the fans will watch the race on TV and give us their support from a distance.”

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will use Acronis’ expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence to process large amounts of racing data for the development of cars and their tech partner will also assist with the analysis of the wind tunnel data, accelerating aerodynamics projects across the team’s race car line-up.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that TOYOTA GAZOO Racing isn’t the only team that have employed the expertise of a world leader in cyber security and data back-up.

This year, Acronis have also partnered with Project 1 Motorsport Team, running in the LMGTE AM class.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.