The Hypercar class – a look at the test day from Le Mans


The test day always brings a sense of excitement to Le Mans! This year is no different and Paul Foster is there to catch it for RacerViews. Here we take a look at the LM Hypercar class.

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The #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 HYBRID ended the two sessions of running as a red flag ended running with just a few minutes left on the Rolex time face above the Le Mans finish line, as the day passed without significant incident as teams and drivers prepared for competitive action over the week ahead.

After overnight thunderstorms, Sunday started with inspiring blue in the sky, but by mid-morning this had given way to grey clouds with the initial air temperature definitely warranting a jacket as teams went through their test day routines. The morning continued with the occasional glimpse of blue interspersed by cloud and just a hint of precipitation as the first session ran from 09:00 to 13:00.

It was a case of éqalité, with all three marques, Glickenhaus, Alpine and Toyota, taking their turn at the top of the class and overall standings. Come the lunchtime break in running, it was the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing fastest, with a 3m 31.626secs time, just a tenth ahead of the #708 Glickenhaus 007 LMH.

As the afternoon arrived, so temperatures climbed but an underlying humidity hinted at potential precipitation lingering in the air and with moderate winds licking the circuit, the skies could issue disparate weather pronouncements at every sighting over the session from 14:00 to 18:00.

Glickenhaus took the early afternoon fight to Toyota with the #708 going top, but the #7 car was not to be denied, with a 3m 29.896s seeing the Japanese marque the only one under the 3m 30s mark for the day. The #308 Glickehaus ended the day second quickest, two tenths off, with the #8 Toyota again around three tenths further off.

Combined full day times can be see here

Kamui Kobayashi (Driver, car #7): “It went well and we had a smooth day with no problems. This is only the beginning of the event and the track conditions will evolve over the next week. We spent the day checking various systems and preparing ourselves so we can adjust the set-up as the conditions change. Our car was designed for Le Mans and the balance felt good right away but we’ll see how the picture looks next week. I am looking forward to it.”

Mike Conway (Driver, car #7): “We’ve been here in Le Mans a few days already so it was nice to be on track and get started. The test day went well and we had a decent balance straight out of the box. We got through our programme, trying a few different set-ups and seeing what we can improve. There have been some changes to our car since last time we drove here and the hybrid deployment speed is different as well, so it was good to get some laps in.”

José María López (Driver, car #7): “The first day went fine and we ran without problems. We were working through different settings for the aerodynamics, the ride heights and other things, as well as looking at the different tyre compounds. We try to understand all these elements as much as we can and work to improve. The car felt, as always here at Le Mans, very nice to drive but we still have a long week ahead of us and we need to get our heads down and keep working.”

Sébastien Buemi (Driver, car #8): “I was happy to be able to do quite a few laps today despite the long journey back from Indonesia. Thanks to the team for letting me have plenty of laps during the afternoon session. I enjoyed being back at Le Mans; we didn’t have any issues and we got lucky with the weather. We will look at all the data and see what we can improve for Wednesday.”

Brendon Hartley (Driver, car #8): “It was great to see the fans at scrutineering after a couple of years without this tradition. The atmosphere is already building one week before the race and it felt nice to be back on track at Le Mans. We spent a lot of time in the last months preparing for this. It’s clear that the GR010 HYBRID was made for this track, where it feels most at home, so it is always a pleasure to drive it here. It looks very competitive at the front and we are in the mix.”

 Ryo Hirakawa (Driver, car #8): “This was my first day in the GR010 HYBRID at Le Mans and I enjoyed it. I was positively surprised how good the car feels on this track; it was designed for Le Mans and it felt amazing. I enjoyed every lap and now I am looking forward to racing with this car. We did a lot of testing and analysing to be prepared for next week. I feel quite comfortable already but I still have areas to improve step-by-step. So far, so good and we will just keep working like this in race week.”

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By Paul Foster, words from PR sources

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