Kobayashi demotivated by Toyota WEC handicap at Fuji

Toyota driver Kamui Kobayashi says he is demotivated by the new system of success handicaps introduced for this season's World Endurance Championship

Kobayashi demotivated by Toyota WEC handicap at Fuji

The Japanese driver believes the penalties designed to slow the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID he shares with Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez by 1.4s a lap for this weekend's Fuji WEC round leave them with little chance of winning the race.

The #8 Toyota, which finished second to its sister car at the Silverstone series opener last month, has been penalised to the tune of one second, but Kobayashi suggested that the performance differential between the two TS050s was more than four tenths.

"I'm less motivated in the end, because what we can do?" he said.

"If you're a second off a lap, you are maximum second, maybe third — what is there to fight for?

"The gap to the sister car is like more than six tenths; I would say nearly eight tenths."

Kobayashi made his comments after opening free practice during which his best time was almost exactly four tenths down on team-mate Sebastien Buemi's fastest lap in the #8 car.

But the theoretical best lap of the #7 was actually just under a tenth faster than the sister car.

The fastest times set by the two Toyotas in FP2 were not comparable because the #8 undertook a qualifying simulation run and #7 did not.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon reserved judgement on whether the penalties imposed on the two TS050s have slowed them by the intended amounts.

"At the moment it is too early to correlate the exact handicap we have received compared with what we were expecting because we are still tuning the systems," he told Autosport.

The extent of the penalties, which are based on the points differentials between the LMP1 cars in the championship, has been revised since they were announced ahead of the Silverstone race.

It was intended that each car would be slowed by 0.008s per kilometre for each point that it leads the last-placed LMP1 entry in the championship.

This has been revised upwards to 0.012s after the performance differential between the LMP1 field at the 2019/20 WEC opener proved to be bigger than expected.

Asked if that had come as a surprise to Toyota, Vasselon replied: "Partly, yes, but in the end we are happy with the idea of success handicaps and this is a tuning of the concept."

The Toyotas have been slowed with a reduction in fuel flow parameters and hybrid power, while the privateer Rebellion and Team LNT Ginetta entries have been penalised with weight.

The unpenalised LMP1 entry, the so-called reference car, at Fuji is the #6 Ginetta-AER G60-LT-P1.

shares
comments
F2 champion/Mercedes FE driver de Vries gets Toyota rookie test run

Previous article

F2 champion/Mercedes FE driver de Vries gets Toyota rookie test run

Next article

Senna: Rebellion won't screw performance around for future WEC edge

Senna: Rebellion won't screw performance around for future WEC edge
Load comments
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Plus

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and were considered heavy favourites to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen

Le Mans
Aug 14, 2021
Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Plus

Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally

WEC
Aug 14, 2021