Toyota fastest on test day for the 2018 24 Hours of Le...

Toyota fastest on test day for the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans

photo: Toyota

Toyota completed a positive and constructive official test day at the Circuit de la Sarthe today as its preparations for the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours stepped up a gear.

Following its one-two victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season opener at Spa-Francorchamps, Toyota again set the pace today

Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap of the day, 3mins 19.066secs. He shares the #8 TS050 HYBRID with Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

That was 0.614secs quicker than the second-placed #3 Rebellion, while the #7 car of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López ended the test third. In total, the two TS050 HYBRIDs completed 202 laps, 2,752km, on a day of trouble-free running despite three red flags and multiple safety car periods.

Today’s test day was the only chance for teams to experience the 13.626km Circuit de la Sarthe before race week, making it a particularly important event as the 86th Le Mans 24 Hours approaches.

Both cars had a long list of items to test, including aerodynamic and mechanical set-ups, as well as hybrid recovery and boost settings. The circuit is made up partly of public roads so various specifications of Michelin tyre were evaluated in terms of performance and degradation on this unique track surface.

Drivers also took the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the track following a 12-month absence since the conclusion of the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours. Test and reserve driver Anthony Davidson completed the mandatory laps to ensure eligibility for race week as a precaution in case of an unforeseen issue for one of the regular race drivers.

Fernando had the chance to experience the Circuit de la Sarthe for real at the wheel of a TS050 HYBRID for the first time

Until now he had several simulator sessions to prepare for his Le Mans debut. He took the wheel of the #8 early in the morning session. Alonso went on to complete 40 laps, 545km, over the course of the day.

Most team members will stay at Le Mans for a shakedown test on the shorter Bugatti Circuit on Tuesday. This way they will finalise preparations prior to race week. Then the action begins on Wednesday 13 June with practice and first qualifying.