TOYOTA GAZOO Racing ready for Le Mans title defence

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, partnered by Acronis, will be aiming for Hypercar history as it seeks to defend its title in the 89th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The team has dominated at the famous La Sarthe venue in recent years, completing a hat-trick of victories in the TS050 Hybrid, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima responsible for that treble and Brendon Hartley etching his name into the history books last year with the same pairing.

It will by no means be an easy task to do so again, with reigning world champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López looking to make amends for the heartbreak of 2019 and 2020 by finally taking the chequered flag fist at this most prestigious of races following their recent victory at Monza.

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to fight for another victory but I know it will be a big challenge, with a new car and strong competitors,” commented Buemi. “We know what it takes to win so we have to stick to our plan and make sure we avoid mistakes. Then we will see where we are on Sunday.”

It is the defending Le Mans champions in the #8 GR010 HYBRID who lead the drivers’ standings but only by six points from their #7 team-mates and with double points on offer.

“I have achieved the pole position three times already, but the big target is to win the race,” said Kobayashi. “We have been so strong in the past few years on car #7 but always something happened and we couldn’t get to the end without trouble. So we need to avoid any issues this year and keep pushing for a perfect race. We are all staying focused and optimistic.”

The 2021 edition marks the 10th time Toyota has competed at La Sarthe with a hybrid-powered prototype and although the team enters the race as strong favourites, fellow Hypercar rivals Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Alpine will be doing their utmost to prevent that from happening.

“Le Mans is the most challenging race in the world and, as we all know from experience, anything can happen,” commented Nakajima. “We are all pushing hard for the GR010 HYBRID to be the first Hypercar winner; we will be fully focused on our job and hoping that luck is on our side. We can take nothing for granted but we will give everything to be in the centre of the podium again.”

For Hisatake Murata, Team President, there will be no preference as to which team crosses the line first. Winning at Le Mans for a fourth successive year would represent something very special.

“It is always a great honour to participate at Le Mans and we are proud to return as three-time winners,” said Murata. “We are putting all our effort into extending that winning run by becoming the first Hypercar Le Mans winners. The engineers and mechanics have been working closely with the drivers to fine-tune the car, always with the target of being strong in Le Mans.”

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Motorsport Technology