Toyota drivers, Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima have won a thrilling opening round of the World Endurance (sportscar) Championship at Silverstone at the weekend in their TS050 Hybrid.
The six hours’ race, which was punctuated by showers, all came down to the strategy the teams employed at the final pit stop.
Porsche, winner of the drivers and manufacturers championships for the last two years, put Palmerston North’s Brendon Hartley into the lead when he did not change tyres but only took on enough fuel to get to the finish.
Toyota had a longer pit stop to give Buemi new tyres and he emerged from the pits eight seconds behind. With 12 laps to go he managed to scramble past Hartley who was slowed while lapping a back marker.
Buemi went on to win by 6.1 seconds, while the second Toyota TS050 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Lopez finished 23rd after losing a lot of time in the pits repairing accident damage.
6 Hours of Silverstone
1, S Buemi, A Davidson, K Nakajima (Toyota GAZOO Racing TS050 Hybrid) 197 laps;
2, T Bernhard, E Bamber, B Hartley (Porsche 919 Hybrid) +6.173secs;
3, N Jani, A Lotterer, N Tandy (Porsche 919 Hybrid) +46.956secs.