TOYOTA celebrates 25th Year at Le Mans 24 Hours with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing podium finish
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) has secured yet another show-stopping podium finish at the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) Le Mans 24 Hours. Last year’s winners Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa, in the No.8 GR010 Hybrid Electric Hypercar, battled through turbulent weather conditions, technical setbacks and some of the world’s staunchest competitors to deliver a spectacular performance that won them second place in front of a 325,000-person crowd.
This year also commemorates Toyota’s 25th participation at the Le Mans 24 Hours since its debut in 1985. Furthermore, it marks its 12th year of competing in Hybrid Electric Hypercar, further highlighting its dedication to technological innovation in endurance racing and creating ever-better cars for its customers through motorsports.
The epic day-long battle for a historic victory in the legendary French race’s centenary edition saw TGR, the five-time World Champions, take on the challenge of a record 16-car Hypercar field featuring competitors from Cadillac, Ferrari, Peugeot and Porsche. What ensued was an exciting battle with spectacular wheel-to-wheel racing that put the entire team’s spirit and determination to the test.
Throughout the day’s perilous closing stages, the No.8 GR010 Hybrid Electric Hypercar maintained its unwavering focus and relentless pace, allowing it to secure second place and extend the team’s drivers’ World Championship lead to 25 points. Toyota has also maintained its manufacturers’ World Championship, which now stands at 18 points.
Koji Sato, President of Toyota Motor Corporation and Chairman of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe, commented:
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who supported us. Sébastien, Brendon, and Ryo pushed themselves as athletes and created a car that could fight for victory. Together with Morizo (Akio Toyoda), the team tackled this challenge, supported by Uchiyamada, Chairman Emeritus, who continues to support Toyota’s efforts in the WEC. No matter what the circumstances, I am immensely proud of every member of the team, as this achievement is the result of their unwavering efforts and unyielding spirit. Challenging one’s limits takes tremendous courage. I believe that courage is what propels us toward shaping the future. This year’s Le Mans has taught us how to approach the next 100 years. Thank you for all your support. We will continue to fight.”
Le Mans 24 Hours also saw Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation Chairman, unveil the GR H2 Racing Concept, a hydrogen engine vehicle prototype, during a press conference at the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) at Circuit de la Sarthe in western France. The prototype was also put on display at ACO’s “H2 Village” at the Le Mans 24 Hours venue throughout the duration of the race.
The GR H2 Racing Concept’s introduction was prompted by the ACO’s announcement that hydrogen-engine vehicles would be allowed to compete alongside fuel-cell electric vehicles in the race’s hydrogen category. Toyota, whose objective is to achieve carbon neutrality in motorsports while maintaining exceptional performance and excitement, looks forward to redefining the concept of race cars across the next century.
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’, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) launched the Gazoo Racing (GR) Saudi Driving School to discover exceptional Saudi talent for the GR Saudi Team and foster their skills and passion across four exhilarating disciplines: Time Attack, Hill Climb, Drift, and Autocross. Registration for the driving school is now open, and in August the facility will welcome young Saudi men and women aged 18 to 26 who have a passion for motorsports.
The next leg of the 2023 FIA WEC is the 6 Hours of Monza at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Italy, scheduled to take place on July 9, 2023.
- 8 GR010 Hybrid Electric Hypercar (Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa)
- Position: 2nd
- of Laps: 342 (+1 min 21.793 secs)