Toyota makes history with first Hypercar victory at Spa
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 8 crew of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima took the first ever Hypercar victory at the TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps today.
Buemi took the all-new Toyota GR010-Hybrid to the chequered flag after an eventful race which saw the trio fightback from two separate penalties to win an intriguing 2021 FIA WEC season opener.
They faced down a race-long challenge from both the sister Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose-Maria Lopez and the Alpine A480-Gibson.
All three Hypercar entries led during the frantic six hour race but it was the No. 8 that came out on top when several issues were encountered by the No. 7 machine.
These included an off-track excursion, contact with the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR – 19 and a brief on-track stoppage which forced a systems re-set. But Kamui Kobayashi was still able to claim third placed points and round-out the first ever Hypercar podium.
The Alpine Elf Matmut team ran an excellent race to fight the Toyotas throughout with Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere all driving strong stints in an impressive category debut for the French squad.
United Autosports USA dominate LMP2 category
In LMP2 the United Autosports USA squad took a conclusive victory with Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and Fabio Scherer combining to vanquish their opposition.
The reigning champions gave a notice of intent by topping all of the practice and qualifying sessions ahead of the race, before Hanson and Albuquerque built a solid lead in order for WEC rookie to consolidate the gap and take a debut victory.
JOTA took an accomplished second and third in class after both of its cars stealthily climbed up the order. The No.28 trio of Sean Gelael, Tom Blomqvist and Stoffel Vandoorne looked set for an excellent runner-up position but were forced to take a late race penalty for contact with the Alpine Hypercar.
This allowed the No.38 Jota Oreca-Gibson of Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix da Costa and Anthony Davidson through to grab second in the final moments of the race.
Racing Team Nederland’s line-up of Giedo van der Garde, Frits Van Eeerd and Job Van Uitert finished fourth and also took the first ever LMP2 Pro/Am trophy.
Local favourites Team WRT were engaged in the podium fight on their WEC debut but were forced in to a long pit-stop after a clutch issue in the fourth hour.
Click HERE for race results.
Click HERE for provisional standings.
Next in the FIA WEC calendar is Portimao in Portugal (11 – 13 June)