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#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
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WEC Spa-Francorchamps
Analysis

How Ferrari’s threat is growing against Toyota approaching Le Mans

On paper Toyota’s latest 1-2 in the World Endurance Championship points to business as usual for the reigning champions against its top category rivals. But at the Spa 6 Hours it was anything but, as the unpredictability of the Belgian track masked the real picture heading towards the Le Mans 24 Hours

A third Toyota victory in three races and a second 1-2 suggested it was business as usual for the 2023 World Endurance Championship at Spa last weekend. That wasn’t quite the case in the final race before the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Japanese manufacturer admitted that it “didn’t have fantastic pace” on a day that its Italian rival showed real evidence that it will be a threat come the big one in next month. 

Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez took the win aboard the #7 GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar and on the face of it appeared to have continued Toyota’s domination after the rulemakers opted against taking the opportunity to tweak the Balance of Performance. They led 132 of the 148 laps of an incident-packed event that started on a damp track and included four safety cars and three Full Course Yellows. But over the full duration of the Spa 6 Hours the Ferrari 499P was the quicker car on average even if the best of its LMHs could only finish third behind the second Toyota driven by Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa.

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