Toyota has developed a new car and a revised driver line-up to challenge for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), starting in England this weekend. Two heavily modified TS050 Hybrid race cars will make their competitive debut at the Six Hours of Silverstone, the first of nine endurance races that will decide this year's championship.
Silverstone is the "home" race for two of the Toyota drivers - former WEC champion Anthony Davidson and Mike Conway, both of whom are confident the team has the car to fight at the front. Davidson said: "It's a great circuit to drive which really highlights the performance of modern LMP1 cars, especially in the fast, flowing corners where you take advantage of the downforce."
Conway said: "It will be a tricky race especially with traffic, but I think we have a competitive car and we arrive there well prepared."
Silverstone is the first LMP1 race for three-time world touring car champion José María López, who will compete in the #7 car with Conway and Kamui Kobayashi. Davidson is reunited for a third consecutive season with Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. He and Buemi won the 2014 drivers' title.
Toyota Gazoo Racing will use the high-downforce version of the TS050 Hybrid at the 5.9km Silverstone circuit where the team has claimed podium finishes in each of its five previous visits. The car has been heavily modified with an upgraded hybrid powertrain and mechanical and aerodynamic updates. It has undergone around 35,000km of pre-season testing.
Track action begins on Friday with the six-hour race, which last year saw 1,144km completed by the winning car, starting on Sunday at noon (9pm AEST).