TOYOTA GAZOO Racing secures incredible sixth successive victory at Spa

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team, partnered by Acronis, secured a phenomenal sixth consecutive victory at the famous and revamped Spa-Francorchamps circuit as the #7 car of World Champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López took the chequered flag.

It was redemption for the team that bounced back from an unfortunate DNF at Sebring, but bitter-sweet for the team in general as the roles were this time reversed – the #8 of Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa retiring from the lead after 90 minutes with an issue with their GR010 HYBRID.

“It was a great job from the team to win our first race of the season. I am sorry for the trouble on car #8,” commented Kamui Kobayashi (Team Principal and driver, car #7. “Although I am driver, I am also Team Principal so I am responsible for both cars and I want to apologise to the guys on car #8.

“We will investigate and find a solution to be sure this doesn’t happen again. I am very happy with the performance of the team overall. On car #7 Mike and José drove really well despite the very difficult conditions. The engineers and pit stop crew performed perfectly as well; there were no mistakes which is impressive in conditions like that.”

For a long time it had looked like another 1-2 for the successful team, seemingly on the way to seven wins out of eight races since the GR010 HYBRID was introduced at this very circuit in 2021.

In typically weather-affected Spa conditions that saw two three red flag periods for accidents, it was José who kept his head together as the rain abated, crossing the line after to win by 27.473secs from the #36 Alpine.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.
World Endurance Championship.
6 Hours of Spa.
4th to 7th May 2022
Spa Francorchamps Circuit, Spa, Belgium

“It was a good race and it was the best way to re-start our championship after what happened in Sebring,” commented winning team driver Lopez. “We win and lose together as a team, and it was important to win our first race of the year. The job that Kamui and Mike did in those terrible conditions was impressive. It was one of the toughest races and at one point it was just a question of surviving.

“After the job Kamui and Mike did, I tried to push and do my best for the end of the race. The Alpine was very close at some point and I could see a big rain cloud coming over the pits, so we had to make some decisions. As a team we took the right ones. To win in Spa is great, and I am very happy to take maximum points for the championship.”

Next up for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the team will be looking to uphold their proud record and challenge a fifth consecutive victory.

“Our next race is Le Mans, which is the big race, so we must be well prepared,” added Kobayashi. “We will still keep pushing to always improve performance but we still need to work for reliability. We cannot have issues like we did today with car #8.”

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) John Steeghs (NDL) Team Manager TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.

Acronis are proud to be the official Artificial Intelligence Partner of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team, helping the team perform to the best of their capabilities through machine learning. To find out more, please visit https://www.acronis.com/en-us/lp/msp-sports/

 

Motorsport Technology