24h Le Mans
FIA WEC – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing wins Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid has won the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the first race of the 2021 FIA WEC season, against Alpine Elf Matmut.
This weekend, the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, first round of the 2021 FIA WEC season, officially kicked off the new Hypercar class in competition. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid shared by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley has won the first race of this new era. However, it wasn't smooth sailing for the Japanese team.
The #8 incurred a five-second penalty during a pit stop for an unsafe restart. Kazuki Nakajima: "We are very happy with this win. It's the first for a Hypercar and the GR010 Hybrid. It was truly a difficult race as our teammates in the #7 can confirm. We will continue to give it our all throughout the season."
The #7 of trio Conway-Kobayashi-Lopez experienced a slight collision with the #91 Porsche, earning a drive-through penalty, then Kobayashi failed to turn in the Bruxelles corner. On the other hand, André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxivière at the wheel of Alpine Elf Matmut's #36 Alpine A480-Gibson made no mistakes and were even in a position to win the race, but they finished in second place trailing the #8 Toyota by 1:07. The third spot on the podium went to the #7 Toyota.
Battles in the LMP2 class were as heated as always. While the United Autosports team's #22 ORECA 07-Gibson held the lead, several teams vied for the second and third steps on the podium. G-Drive Racing, JOTA Sport and Racing Team Nederland alternated positions throughout the race, with JOTA Sport scoring both spots, the #38 ahead of the #28.
In LMGTE Pro, despite a slow tire leak, Porsche GT Team's #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 held its own against AF Corse's #51 and #52 Ferrari F488 GTE Evos. For its first race in Europe, Corvette Racing's #63 Corvette C8.R #63 nabbed fourth place. The Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps marked the end of competition for Corvette Racing's Oliver Gavin: "This last race was quite emotional for me. The final laps brought back a flood of memories over these last 20 years with this team. I am so proud of everything it has accomplished, and that I have raced four generations of Corvette. To end my career here at Spa, in the WEC, is very special because it's such a wonderful race and track." The British driver is bidding adieu to his racing career with five GT class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The LMGTE Am class was dominated by AF Corse's #83 Ferrari F88 GTE Evo driven by François Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera, winning ahead of TF Sport's #33 Aston Martin Vantage AMR and Cetilar Racing's #47 Ferrari F488 GTE Evo.
Two cars were forced to retire: GR Racing's #86 Porsche 911 RSR-19 (incident during the formation lap) and ARC Bratislava's #44 Ligier JS P217-Gibson (fuel leak).
The next round of Season 9 of the FIA WEC is set for 13 June at the Portimão circuit in Portugal.
For more info on the FIA WEC, go to the official championship website.