Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – 3 October 2023: TOYOTA GAZOO Racing earned a thrilling one-two victory on home ground in the 6 Hours of Fuji to clinch Toyota’s fifth manufacturers’ title in the penultimate race of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Team
In front of a record 54,700 crowd, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López took victory in their No.7 GR010 Hybrid Electric Hypercar after an epic battle against WEC’s biggest lineup of top-class competitors. Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa completed a perfect result by taking second place in their No.8 GR010 Hybrid Electric Hypercar, finishing just 39.119secs behind.
Koji Sato, President of Toyota Motor Corporation and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe Chairman, commented: “Together with our Japanese fans and partners who support our challenge in WEC, at the 6 Hours of Fuji, the sixth round of the season, the #7 car won from pole position and the #8 car completed a one-two victory. I was watching the race from the pit, and it was very reassuring to see the enthusiastic support and smiling faces of everyone in the grandstand. I think it was a great source of encouragement for the team to take on the challenges of this race, so I really appreciate all our fans here.”
Sato added: “We want to improve our vehicles through motorsport and make our customers happy. We will continue to take on the challenge of creating more smiles through WEC and fight with all our might as one team in the next round in Bahrain, the final race of the season.”
Right from the race’s outset, Conway and Buemi faced fierce competition from some of the World Championship’s biggest contenders. Pressure at the front continued to mount after the first driver changes, which came around the two-hour mark. López immediately set the fastest lap, with Hirakawa battling to advance through the ranks.
López relentlessly looked for a way past the leader and soon the top three were separated by barely a second after a string of fast laps from Hirakawa, who eventually passed López before making a bold overtake for the lead.
The final driver changes saw Hartley take the lead, with Kobayashi a close second. He was the fastest vehicle on track and soon overtook his teammate. Kobayashi took the chequered flag in the No.7 GR010 Hybrid Electric Hypercar after 229 laps to earn TGR’s ninth win in 10 races at Fuji Speedway and extend the team’s unbeaten streak which stretches back to 2016. Hartley crossed the line in second for the No.8 crew.
Over the years, Toyota has been participating in many different forms of motorsports, including Formula One, the World Endurance Championship (WEC), and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. Toyota’s participation in these events was overseen by separate entities within the company until April 2015, when Toyota established TGR, to consolidate all of its motorsports activities under one in-house brand. Representing Toyota’s belief that ‘the roads build the people, and the people build the cars,’ TGR highlights the role of motorsports as a fundamental pillar of Toyota’s commitment to making ‘ever-better’ cars. Harnessing years of experience gained under the extreme conditions of various motorsports events, TGR aims to forge new technologies and solutions that bring the freedom, adventure, and joy of driving to everyone.
In light of the growing enthusiasm for racing in Saudi Arabia and to bolster the Kingdom’s stature as a global hub for motorsports, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, an authorized distributor of Toyota vehicles in Saudi Arabia for nearly 70 years, and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) recently unveiled the GAZOO Racing Saudi Team. Sponsored by Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, the team is competing in the current season of the esteemed Saudi Toyota Championship and comprises five drivers, Hamza Bakhashab, Abdullah Kabbani, Mahmoud Abed, Yousef Bahuwirth, and Reem Alabood, all are graduates of the newly inaugurated GR Saudi Driving School.
The 2023 FIA WEC season will conclude with the 8 Hours of Bahrain, which will take place on November 4.
- No. 7 GR010 Hybrid Electric Hypercar (Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López)
- Position: 1st
- No. of Laps: 229
- Best Lap: 1:30.780
- No. 8 GR010 Hybrid Electric Hypercar (Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa)
- Position: 2nd
- No. of Laps: 229
- Best Lap: 1:31.059